A few years back I was on a roll. I was at the top of my industry, known as the destination wedding expert, getting found online with little advertising efforts and getting hired practically before people even consulted with me. “Wow, look at me! I’m so awesome! Man, I am absolutely amazing! I can do anything!” Then came the call from a potential new client who wanted to get legally married in Italy in less than three months. To be honest, I was hesitant, but she really wanted to work with me and really needed my help due to the time crunch, so I decided to send her a contract and invoice to hire me. 💸
Before I go any further, at this point in my destination wedding business, I had sent people all over the Caribbean, Mexico and Hawaii for their dream destination weddings and that was my wheelhouse. As a travel professional I had put together travel packages to Italy but never a wedding – especially not a legal wedding on such short notice.
Back to our story. A few weeks and several hours later, I hit a wall. I was going around and around with what the bride wanted. I was getting nowhere with finding availability and setting up the legal wedding, and I felt horrible. I was so upset because I truly wanted to be an advocate for her and see this to fruition, but I was running myself into the ground trying to get this thing done while the rest of my clients were suffering as a result. 😩
I had to make a decision.
So, I decided to give her back the nonrefundable professional planning fee she paid me and call it a loss.
Not only was I beating myself up for failing my client, I was also beating myself up for taking the client in the first place, and then beating myself up some more for all the time lost with nothing to show for it! All that work and I gave her a refund from my “nonrefundable” professional planning fee! Oh gosh, this made me feel sick! I should have listened to my intuition when I was consulting with her. Why didn’t I just say, “I would love to help you, but this isn’t my area of expertise.” Ugh! 😭
Once I got over the self-pulverization of my ego, bandaged up my wounds, and put my big girl panties back on, I made a dedicated decision to start saying “no” to things outside my realm of knowledge. Hallelujah! What a newfound freedom I had discovered – the power of “no”! 🙌
Life is filled with lessons and sometimes we only learn them if we allow ourselves.
To acknowledge failures and mistakes as an opportunity to create change is powerful. I had to look deep within myself and ask, “What were you thinking?” “Why did you do that?” “What could you have done differently?” Questions like these will move you in the right direction and get you back in your lane.
When I think back to the moment when I said “yes” to this non-ideal client, I had to investigate what motivated me to answer that way. Was there a fear of lack? Was there a mindset of ego? Was there pressure to push myself to learn something new and become an expert at something else? I knew that unless I addressed these things, I might find myself in the same spot again in the future. Uhm… No, thank you! ✋