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A Personal Reflection on Life and Loss

Life has its ups and downs.

We can all rejoice in the good things we have experienced in life. As a kid, you may have done special things in sports and celebrated academic accomplishments. We’ve had memorable vacations. Appreciated the simple beauty of sunsets…or sunrises. Delighted in the accomplishment of our children. We have enjoyed some success…however you choose to define the term.

Life is filled with blessings. Life is also filled with challenges.

We have all experienced some personal or business loss. Illness and the death of those we love. I've lost both my parents and through life have endured the passing of pets that have had a meaningful place in our lives. I write this reflecting in the sudden loss of our precious miniature dachshund Spud. I know many of us have lost pets and can relate to this pain.

Little Spud was one of our coolest dogs with an amazing personality. He also was a troublemaker who loved getting into the trash. As a 10-year-old dog, he STILL made messes in the house. But, we loved him anyway. He brought life to our family.

When he came down with "immune-mediated hemolytic anemia" and declined rapidly, we were stunned. This is a blood disorder where the blood cells fight against each other, and it’s a bad situation. We could have put Spud through blood transfusions to buy time. Due to his quickly deteriorating condition, however, we felt the right thing to do was to let him go. It was a tough day and like most of life’s challenges, we get through them. There, of course, will be more challenges ahead. That’s life.

On this difficult day, where we unexpectedly needed to make this quick hard decision, I went back to work. In addition to publishing the PPAI award-winning FreePromoTips industry resource program, and launching the exciting new SuccessFit4Life! health and wellness program, I have a distributor business.

Getting back to the office, I heard from a non-profit client that needed mugs. They previously chose to buy these from Discount Mugs, but they came to me because now Discount Mugs is out of stock.

In the past, this organization has approached us to provide other ideas for their fundraising events. After coming up with an idea that would meet their needs, they returned to us having sourced them online for a less expensive price and asked us to meet that price. What we do needs to make good business sense and typically, in these cases, I may choose to reduce the price, but will never match low-ball pricing like this. I thought we were going to move ahead but didn't. Perhaps they decided to go with another item, or just chose to get it somewhere else. That was lost business.

Through the years I have helped this non-profit organization many times with custom products they couldn't just buy online and other items at a very low margin, to support them. I believe in what they do. My wife and I are also key volunteers at their events.

Most of you will appreciate that I did “lovingly” suggest that they ask if Discount Mugs would like to do something to support their organization.

I understand and respect their focus to be wise stewards of their money. In their zeal, however, they didn't realize that they have taken advantage of our relationship. After some thought, I contacted the organization and had a great discussion with them. There is a mutual respect here and they appreciated that I reached out to them. They like working with a seasoned professional like me. Not only will we get the job done right, I care about the organization. We discussed how to make the business relationship work in consideration of their very real budget constraints. I made the suggestion that we work with the available budget for the project. This way we can determine together if it makes sense for us to do the job, or if the better choice is just going for price elsewhere and pray that it goes well.

In loss can come gain. Here our relationship was strengthened and we have a path that makes sense to follow as we move forward. In a perfect world, this is how all business relationships could work.

On the same day we lost Spud, I heard from another client, whose business I also lost, but for a completely different reason.

The owner of this large, successful business called our company by mistake, but we had a nice conversation. I’ve had a long friendship with him and he updated me on his situation. Unfortunately, he won’t be buying anything from me or donating any money to charities because of the position he has been put in by circumstances beyond his control. This is a loss not only for me but also for other businesses he wants to buy from and charities he wants to support.

Life is full of gains and losses. Victories and defeats. Things we can control and things we can’t. For me, my faith guides me along life’s journey. However we choose to cope with challenges, having a positive attitude and counting our blessings is always beneficial as we move through life. Make it a great day!

RIP Spud.

© 2015 Jeff Solomon, MAS


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