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What really matters

Negotiation and persuasion fell on deaf ears. The client was not convinced.

Clarke had been working on the sales pitch for several weeks now. He had analysed the market, and studied the trends. He had anticipated that after the presentation, the client would readily sign on the dotted line. But the client did not. A multi-million dollar deal was lost.

Clarke knew that his well-deserved promotion was now at stake. He reached his chamber, and closed the door behind him. Sipping his coffee, he looked at his career graph in retrospect—the ups and downs, twists and turns, wins and losses.

It was a long day at work. Clarke reached home only by 11 in the night. His wife greeted him at the door. During dinner, he learnt that his son had received a rejection letter from his dream university that afternoon. “Ben’s gutted, Clarke. He’s been in his room all day,” his wife told him. “The poor boy has worked very hard to get into that university. I simply don’t know how to console him.”

“Let him sleep it off tonight. I’ll speak to him in the morning,” Clarke assured her.

Clarke noticed that Ben was still gloomy the next day. The father and son took a stroll in the nearby park.

Ben asked hesitantly, “Dad, do you think I’ll ever be as successful as you are?”

“You know, last morning, I lost my company a million-dollar deal,” Clarke told him.

Ben was shocked. “Oh! But you’ve never lost a deal before, dad. You must be so devastated,” he said.

His father let out a chuckle. “Not really. I’ve had my share of ups and downs in life, Ben. You see, my career has been a roller-coaster ride. But I’ve learnt to take both successes and failures in my stride. I focus more on enjoying my work. I make sure that I am learning new things in the process. That keeps me going,” he said.

Clarke didn’t have to tell his son what to do. He just shared how he dealt with similar situations, and he knew Ben would get it.

Ben remained silent for a while, as they walked on. Later, he told Clarke, with a smile, “You know, dad, I did enjoy studying for the university admission exams. Preparing for the interviews was fun too. It’s okay. I’ll attempt another university.”

Clarke fist-bumped his son. And the father-son duo continued walking.

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