I’m trapped in a plane now that’s enroute to Australia and have been extremely busy the past few days.

From juggling the stuff that I need to do from my withdrawal as a partner in my previous marketing agency Zalfion Media Pte. Ltd., to doing all the solo client work for my current marketing agency Advertise Pte. Ltd.

Now finally forced to have some quiet time to myself away from the internet, I’d like to take this wonderful 3 hours 45 mins (as stated on my flight monitor) to reflect on my first 3 years as a business owner.

The last 3 years has really been a ride. I was but a complete business retard when I agreed to partner my then best friend, till now actually being slightly better at a whole slew of different things as I was shuffling through many different hats in my previous company. To name a few, they are Media Buyer, Copywriter, Videographer, Video Editor, Graphics Designer, Sales Person, Customer Service Representative, Accountant, Legal, Automation Specialist, Entrepreneur, and more often than I’d like, “Business Owner Imposter Syndrome” these are just a few things I’m able to name off the top of my head.

Over the past few days, one of the recurring thoughts in my head has been what my business mentor from X-Factor taught me.

“Be, Do, Have” – Melvin Soh

  1. You must first BE the person you want to be,
  2. Then you will DO the things you need to do,
  3. So you can HAVE the outcome that you want to have.

It only works in this order and not the other way around.

Here’s a real life example story:

There’s this marketing associate that I occasionally work with who’s to put it in simple words, not doing too well in life.

He is, in my perception, wallowing in a pit of misery he has dug for himself, the pit being tons of debt due to bad money management.

I found myself going into a recurring conversation with him about me not being able to trust him because of his desperation created from his scarcity towards money. Funny enough though, although he knows I don’t trust him one bit when it comes to professional working arrangements, he absolutely trusts me.

This working relationship with him so far has taught me that trust does not have to be mutual between 2 people. He can trust me absolutely, whilst I can absolutely not trust him.

He is a nice guy, he doesn’t like to fuck people over, but still does it anyway, and truth be told, in my perspective, he’s already fucked me over quite a few times in a professional context (a.k.a. agreeing to something, then re-negging on it later because he doesn’t see the value in it anymore), but so far none big enough to make me want to cut him out of my life yet. (my girlfriend tells me that I’m too forgiving. Perhaps, haha.)

One of the things he says he aspires to be is to become more trustworthy like me, but is unable to do so now, and the excuse he gives himself is he is “forced to” due to his circumstances.

Funnily enough, I think it is now where he should BEhave in a trustworthy manner, where it is hardest because this is the true test of his character.

If you can behave honourably when you’re in a situation where it’s easier to not be honourable (e.g. lying), then you know for a fact that the you possess the strength of character.

Personally, I operate very differently from my associate mentioned above.

There’s a beautiful phrase in the TV show Lucifer that perfectly sums up my philosophy towards relationships with people.

“My word is my bond” – Lucifer Morningstar

I was contemplating to myself why people around me trust me so much compared to my friend I’ve mentioned prior, is because I don’t allow my problems to change my behaviour.

Here’s some of the ways I notice myself BEhaving:

  1. When I say I’ll do it, consider it done.
  2. If I’m unsure I can do it, I’ll let you know upfront.
  3. If I enter a deal, which I regret entering later because the price outweighs the value in my mind, I’ll still honour the deal.
  4. If you tell me something in confidence, nobody else will know.
  5. I will not lie to protect myself, but I will lie to protect others.
  6. Nobody owes me anything, and I don’t owe anyone anything, everything I do is because I want to do it.
  7. Earned, not given/taken.
  8. To the best of my abilities, I’ll never backstab you, even if you’ve backstabbed me before and I know it. I’ll just walk away.

But of course, I’m only human and there are times when there are promises and commitments that I’ve made that are unkept, but they’re an extreme minority, in the last 2 years, I’d say probably only about 5%.

The associate I was speaking about, unless I have certain leverage over him, I can expect him to not keep 100% of all his promises.

I made a tweet last time that I suddenly recall, “When a person is untrustworthy, the only thing you can trust is your leverage”

Truth be told though, if not for me wanting to be nice to him (because I have a couple of interesting projects with a client, and the client was referred to me by him, although we both know the value he provides to the project is limited, and because he tells me he wants to stick around and to learn how I do things), I’d rather have no professional relationship with him at all.

Who knows, if he disappoints me any much more, cutting him out of my life like I did with my previous business partner, might be something I’d consider.

So ya, I strongly believe in my mentors philosophy of Be, Do, Have. This short life example cum rant. I know my friend will never become a trustworthy person because his current reality is:

  1. He needs to HAVE a lot of money so he is no longer desperate
  2. So he can stop DOing things that makes him untrustworthy
  3. So he can BE a trustworthy person.

But unfortunately I think if he has money before he BEcomes a trustworthy person, he’ll just become more of a dick, because he now has financial leverage.

That’s not to say he can’t change, but the first step is he has to be willing to change and constantly make difficult decisions that’s true to the character that he wants to develop is my 2 cents.

But from what I can see, few people are capable of constantly making the difficult decision to stay congrent to the person they want to become.

Alas, the beautiful cage so many people build for themselves. There’s a Chinese saying that’s relevant here, 纸是包不住火 which means truth will always prevail.

Hard to actually believe in this philosophy and stay and honest person when you see so much lies in the world and people enjoying the rewards of lying.

In the words of my mentor, money and power doesn’t corrupt, they’re just tools that reveal who you really are.

Ah, timer on my plane is almost exactly 3 hours left, thanks for joining me on this 45 minutes journey for me and probably 5 minutes journey for you.

See you at my next writing, Peace!