“That’s it,” she said; “I’ve had enough. If I had my way, I’d come out of this contract.”

Emotions and business never run well together.

A client proceeded to tell me about a dilemma with a client where the relationship had broken down, and she was struggling to see how they could resolve it.

Albert Einstein said, “You cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it.” which is true and why it’s helpful to discuss a problem with a coach or someone similar.

While listening, I remembered the book “Take the Risk,” by Dr Ben Carson.

He was the neurosurgeon who, in 1997, was involved in the separation of Joseph and Luka Banda – type 2 vertical craniopagus twins – co-joined at the back of the head.

A 28 hr operation in South Africa was successful, with no neurologic deficits.

He developed a decision-making process to decide whether to proceed with neurological operations. It’s called the Best/Worst Analysis (B/WA).

Can you imagine a greater dilemma?

With his team, they would ask these four questions before making a decision.

✳️ What is the best thing that can happen if I do this?
✳️ What is the worst thing that can happen if I do this?
✳️ What is the best thing that can happen if I don’t do this
✳️ What is the worst thing that can happen if I don’t do this?

With the questions for reference, we looked at the best and worst that could happen.

What became apparent was what was at stake – As we did the numbers, we could see that the cost was beyond an emotional reaction: reputational damage, loss of referrals which would have been equally lucrative and the client’s lifetime value- about £200k.

We edged towards how she could take a different approach. It was clear that there was a difficult conversation to be had. She would have to exercise some humility and vulnerability. Not begging, but professionalism and confidence.

My advice was if you don’t deal with this head-on and leave it unresolved, it’s likely to raise its ugly head again with another client. There are lessons here – she agreed.

The meeting ended with her agreeing to take a different approach when he called, but now with the mindset of let’s see how we can work this out.

Two weeks later, she sent me a message to say they were having lunch the following week. It confirmed my feeling that he had as much to risk as she did, and deep down did not want to have to start all over again with a new provider.

Sometimes all we need to do is take a step back and allow the emotion to settle as a solution might be just around the corner.