Tough It Out, Or Pull A Sickie; What Is The Best Choice?

Tough It Out, Or Pull A Sickie; What Is The Best Choice?

I wrote this article as I lay in bed recovering from Man Flu!

When I caught it, it couldn’t have happened at a worse time. My whole week was booked solid and based on my calendar it was unlikely for me to get home before 10pm most nights. I was also in the middle of preparing for a big promotional launch, so there was plenty of work to be done.

Being unwell was a luxury I couldn’t afford. My wife asked me if she should cancel my appointments on this particular day; my immediate answer was no!

This was based on the ethos that if Gene Kelly could perform the famous “Singing In The Rain” dance number with a fever of over 100 degrees, then I was sure I could make it through a few client meetings.

It did take me twice as long to walk up to the tube station, and the cold weather did little to help my mood as I walked. Yes, I know… poor me! Someone, quick start playing the violins to add to the dramatic tension.

For someone who only takes pharmaceuticals as a last resort, and I mean last resort, I even found myself succumbing to taking some off-the-shelf medication to get me through.

I kept telling myself, do whatever it takes to get the job done. You see the hard reality is that the the marketplace is uncompromising, it doesn’t care if you are ill; it only cares what we it sees.

But what did the marketplace see of me?

In the model of my world I saw a person, who was overcoming obstacles, to get the job done no matter what. However, what my first client saw was something else. They saw a guy, lacking energy, grumpy, intolerant and while they may have understood that I may not be feeling well, they walked away with a less than positive experience than they wished for, plus they could have also caught my virus.

I then realised that I was not practising what I preached; to leave all my clients with an exceptional experience. I had short changed them. After all it is not exactly as if I regularly do not follow through on my commitments.

So waking up the following day feeling worse than I did before, I felt I had to postpone my back to back appointments and fit them in the following week, when they could receive my full attention. There was a part of me that hated myself for breaking my commitment which is one of my no, no’s. However I greeted the rest bite with a sense of relief as well.

So why I am sharing this?

As I said the marketplace is uncompromising and on a superficial level it sees three external impact indicators and of these only the top layer is immediately seen; Perception, Power and Productivity.

The perception I gave was of being sick and looking worse for wear. While I may have been dressed smartly, my body language was a lot harder to hide. It is the small things that we pick up on.

While I may have come across as authoritative because of my current position, I lacked the energy and the level of certainty that one feels when they are in a position of power. Subconsciously when we are unwell, we don’t feel as powerful or strong.

With productivity the clients will they have walked away feeling they got value from the session. But based on my high personal standards, I wouldn’t have exceeded their expectations or made a big impact.

Now to put this into perspective it was not exactly as if I was going on stage talking to 5,000 people, where it was a one-time only situation. I was sacrificing some six appointments that I would have to be rescheduled over the following week. While not an impossible task, it was an inconvenience to my clients who could have potentially got an initial bad first impression of me.

As I wrote this, I felt the conflict as my instincts were saying battle on, whereas my body and more rational thinking was saying, postpone so you give 100% and not just 80%.
I want to leave you with one thought; whatever decision you make, right or wrong, ensure that you stick to your decision. Balance out the factors involved and look at the bigger picture. It will help you to weigh up the benefits against the risks so you can make an informed choice.
As I read back through this blog after I have recovered, I’ve wondered if I wrote it now would my views have been different?

Andy T Cumming
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Andy T Cumming

Director at Impact Fast Track
Andy advises organisations and small business owners on how to make a bigger impact in the marketplace. He created the Professional Impact Profile, the leading six in one impact profiling system in the world. The profile highlights the gaps to become bigger, stronger and more impactful.
Andy T Cumming
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