Don't Feed The Suckerfish

I love to help people. It’s a passion, it’s a part of who I am as an individual. It gives me great satisfaction to help a community along, to help a business along, to help a non-profit move the needle, it’s just a good feeling. UNTIL I meet a suckerfish.

Suckerfish will suck the life out of you. Suckerfish will show up un-announced, suckerfish will EXPECT your time, suckerfish will not thank you for the knowledge they have sucked out of your brain. Once they determine that you no longer will provide them with free work / information / knowledge, they will move on to another victim within either your organization or your industry and suck them dry as well and then proceed to complain / bash YOU for cutting them off.

How to spot a suckerfish:

– They pit you against other businesses.

– They never really accomplish anything of business worth.

– They break down and belittle others with zero remorse.

– They oftentimes talk out of their ass and don’t have a clue.

– They are very quick to judge others but never look at themselves.

Suckerfish can be found everywhere, sometimes consultants, sometimes competitors, sometimes members of an organization you are a part of, sometimes disguised as friends. Suckerfish will completely distract you. It’s imperative that you spot them quickly and cut them off from the source as rapidly as you can.

It all comes down to boundaries and valuing your own time, so here are some ways to bypass suckerfish all together:

– Never let people just pick your brain without billing them for the time or only giving them 15 minute increments, etc.

– Create boundaries and stick to them. Don’t answer their call every time, don’t answer every email. If you aren’t getting paid for this time, you’re simply losing money.

– Don’t accept dangled carrots. If I had a nickel for everytime I heard that someone would be connecting me with so and so, or that they will get business if I give them some time in exchange, I’d be a freaking millionaire. Dangled carrots NEVER work.

– Get a gatekeeper. Putting someone in front of you as a line of defense is amazing if you can afford it. Let them answer your phone calls / set your appointments, etc..  Hire a tough one. Suckerfish are good at getting past enemy lines.

If you feel called to help folks out, volunteer on a board (with your boundaries) or offer to mentor an MBA or graduate student at a local college, you’ll find this to be way more gratifying.

Thanks for reading and sharing.

@TomJelneck


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