“If you don’t want egg in your sandwich, say it!” (or how to be more assertive in 2018) – A “Coffee with Colm” Blog

He was hilarious.

I heard Colm O’Regan for the first time at the Pendulum Summit in Dublin during the week and he was hilarious. Colm is a journalist as well as comedian and he was there on the last afternoon of a two day life-changing event to provide the 2,500 day-two attendees a comical interlude between world-class speakers and presenters.

He told funny stories and in one painted an hilarious word-picture about two people, one American, one Irish ordering a sandwich. The American, suspects he has an intolerance to eggs and he specifically asks the ‘sandwich technician’ to please make sure none finds its way into his fare.

Paddy is next. Paddy could die as a result of a serious allergy to anything containing egg, but he couches his request in words such as, ‘you might go easy on the egg there’.

The Technician (also Irish) interprets that to mean probably only half a portion instead of the full Monty.

Does Paddy stop him? No. Instead he complains to the guy behind him in the queue.

The Sandwich Technician asks is he happy with his order to which Paddy replies, “ah yeah, grand, sure I’ll just scrape it out!”

Colm (great name in fairness) said. “Lads, if you don’t want egg in you sandwich, say it!”

It was hilarious (when delivered by the other Colm).

But then it struck me, we’ve all done it.

We Irish can be all too reserved in our dealings with others.

We aren’t particularly good at asking for what we want and we are often worse at being clear about what we don’t want.

Why is that important?

Allow me explain;

Watch the video, listen to the podcast, or read on below to find out how understanding this can help you become more assertive in 2018…

Listen to the podcast below:

At Frankie and Norma Sheahan’s Pendulum Summit*, the world’s leading business and self-empowerment event, which has kicked off my year every year since 2014, we hear each year from some of the world’s best through leaders in the area of business development and self-empowerment, and in doing so, we have an opportunity to absorb the lessons these people learned as they sweated to build their careers, their businesses, their lives.

Some of the highlights for me over the years have been Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins, Jack Canfield (author Chicken Soup for the Soul) and this year, Baroness Michelle Mone, founder of the Ultimo Bra and one of my business and lifestyle heroes, Sir Richard Branson.

Common traits found in people whose achievements and contribution deem them worthy of addressing a Pendulum audience include

·        vision,

·        work ethic,

·        discipline,

·        self-awareness,

·        clear goal setting,

·        persistence,

·        people skills,

·        negotiation ability and

·        mindfulness

We will touch on all of these over the coming weeks here in the “Coffee with Colm” series and I’d like to kick-start those coffee chats with some thoughts that came from Colm O’Regan’s laugh out loud performance and that line “If you don’t want egg in you sandwich, say it!”

Regular readers of my blog will know that one of my all-time favourite thought leaders is the late, great, Stpehen R Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Stephen died three months before his 80th birthday following a bicycling accident – he died ‘old and full of years’ a biblical phrase that has always intrigued me – many die old, the question is are they full of years – do they live? Stephen lived. He died following his passion.

Colm O’Regan’s one-line-trusim got me thinking about one of Stephen Covey’s concepts where he talks about the various models of winning.

Stephen talked about

·        Win/Win

·        Win/Lose

·        Lose/Win

·        Win

·        Lose

·        Compromise

And one of my favourites

·        No Deal

Win/Win does exactly what it says on the tin, both parties engage in dialogue for as long as it takes to craft a situation where the outcome is better than either could have produced alone. Win/Win is where one plus one equals 3, 4, 100, to infinity. Win/Win is much harder than compromise and is therefore rarer in actuality. But it is much, much better.

Win/Lose is where one party wins at the expense of the other: Proverbs 20:14 says it clearly: “It’s no good, it’s no good!” says the buyer— then goes off and boasts about the purchase.

Lose/Win is where the less assertive party allows themselves to lose for fear of causing upset or for lack of courage in negotiation, or perhaps for fear that losing a deal would be worse than a deal at any price. This can cause resentment to become buried only to surface down the track.

Win is where one party is out to win and really doesn’t consider or care whether the other party wins or loses – that’s their concern.

Lose is where one party accepts a losing position from the outset for whatever reason, bows the head, waits for the axe to fall.

Compromise is not Win/Win. Compromise proposes both parties give up something. The outcome is more like one plus one equals one and a half.

No Deal is interesting. No Deal is a very real option that needs to be considered around any negotiation table.

No Deal is very empowering. It allows all parties the opportunity to work towards a mutually beneficial outcome which if proves to be unattainable for whatever reason, can be shelved in favor of No Deal, i.e. we would like to partner with you / hire you / buy you out etc. but it has become obvious that our views of the future are different and therefore let’s agree to No Deal now? Let’s shake hands and get on with our lives.

No Deal, if conducted properly can leave the door open for future discussion if and when circumstances change.

Very recently we had a situation in Carambola, which I won’t get into, where there was what looked like a Compromise (might even have been Lose – Win, certainly wasn’t Win – Win) deal on the table. I was reluctantly willing to agree to it when someone on our board opened my eyes to reconsider and so we went for No Deal. One party was rubbing their hands thinking they had us over a barrel and were not expecting us to propose No Deal.

It was a temporarily painful outcome but in hindsight was the very best Deal to do.

It has been very empowering.

So my friend, when you are conducting your business this next week, know what you want as an outcome, also be clear on what you don’t want as an outcome and as Colm O’Regan so succinctly phrased it “If you don’t want egg in you sandwich, say it!”

Thanks for thinking with me.

Ps. *I have now attended 5 out of 5 Pendulum Summits since 2014 and it has literally changed my life, as it has many of the attendees over the years. If you have been and are a believer, you know what I mean, if you haven’t, make sure you get to Dublin first business week of the year in 2019 and say hi when you do – thank me afterwards.

MORE? Some of the issues touched on above have been discussed in earlier “Coffee with Colm” Blog posts:

  • The Fur Lined Mousetrap (how to recognize it) and The Patchwork Quilt Theory of Life and Work (how to get more out of both). Click here.
  • Understanding the Gravity of Bad Habits (how to break free from it). Click here.

STAY CONNECTED?: If this is your thing, consider joining in the conversation here.

FREE BOOK?: If would like a complimentary copy of the book in audio, narrated by yours truly so you get all the nuances, feel free to grab one here.

Thanks for thinking with me.

Yours truly,

“How can I help?”

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