Question: I was royally screwed over in a business transaction. I want to get even. How should I do this?
Answer: You can’t. Revenge is a tricky business and can backfire in so many different ways. Of course you can always turn to the courts if you’ve truly been damaged, but that avenue is also fraught with pitfalls. Over the course of my nearly four decade career, I’ve been a party to a number of legal proceedings. And even in victory there was no real sense of vindication. Litigation typically drags on interminably; it costs a fortune; it’s a time-waster when it comes to legal discovery and trial preparation, and there’s something even more critical. Negative energy. Lawsuits are full of negative energy, creating serious barriers to creative productivity.
I’m not saying that legal action shouldn’t be pursued when warranted – but if getting even is the principal motive – beware. It’s human nature to feel angry when someone takes unfair advantage of us. We can then move down one of two paths. The first and easiest is that of victimhood. We’ve been wronged because someone did something unjust to us. We’re entitled to feel outraged and we spend time telling others about our experience. Been there – done that. I’ve also been heard to say, “Don’t get mad, get even.” But when I put it all in perspective, I realize that I’m giving someone else the power when I play the victim. So I ask myself, “Why as a successful entrepreneur would I want to give someone else negative power over me?”
This self-conversation leads me down the second path, a path that is much more difficult. The path is called, forgiveness. My approach to forgiveness does not condone the unjust act but rather the doer of that act. I have come to understand that not everyone subscribes to the same ethics and standards as do I. But I’ve decided that’s their problem, not mine. When I become the forgiver, I do not give someone else power over me. And I also get the benefit of staying in a positive energy flow through the process. I might not do business with that person again, and if asked, I would decline to provide an endorsement or referral. In the end, I’m able to move through the situation quickly and get on with pursuing my passion.
Life is way too short for grudges and the plotting of revenge. Being a victim is poison to the entrepreneurial spirit. It takes much more strength of character to forgive than to wallow in self-pity. As entrepreneurs we have much more important work to do.
This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.