Friday, December 14, 2012

is it a lack of trust?

Do you ever wonder if you are making a decision simply out of fear?  Or if the lack of making a decision is based off how you see or don't see things?  Or a lack of trust in God that He will provide?  He will answer?  He will guide?  He will direct your path?

I am learning that I don't always know the answer to this.  

Sometimes I don't "feel" afraid.  Sometimes I don't "feel" that I am not trusting.  Sometimes I clearly don't know what the decision should be and feel it could go either way and God will support me.  But yet when an answer is not clear and doesn't seem to come, it makes me wonder.  Am I afraid?  Am I not trusting?  This I am learning though, I can still pray:  Lord if I have fear, please help me to have courage...if I am not trusting, let me believe and have faith in You!...God please help me know what is your excellent way so that I may be developed into the person you want me to be.  

So you say, this is a good concept, but what are you referring to?  

I have a client who I have worked with since December 2010.  I obtained this client through a networking connection of a lady of a physician who was retiring and this provider was working for them and planning on purchasing the practice.  The provider seemed nice, but truly was a bit of an air head [one of my employees calls quirky], and wasn't ready for being an Entrepreneur.  

Each time you begin a new client relationship, you have to learn each other.  Learn what their preferences are.  Learn what things they want you to do and how they want them to be done.  Learn their communication style.  In order to learn, you  have to communicate. In order to learn, you have to be willing to change and adapt to the client because you are there to serve them.

I have wanted to assist in all ways and have tried to learn, communicate, change, adapt, and be open to different ways of doing things.  However, I feel I have been beating my head against the wall for 2 years and am at a point now, that I have to re-evaluate this clients relationship.  I have tried to figure out what this physician wants, the communication style [or technically the lack there of], and how to achieve a better working relationship.  I have requested meetings every other month to address issues and by doing them outside of normal business hours, getting the client to focus on resolving problems and making decisions to hopefully work through these things.  I had hoped that as time went on, the client would learn me, see my work and that the stresses of owning a new practice and being an Entrepreneur would decrease and improve.  

They haven't.  

The client continues to swear at me each and every time I bring in bills to be paid.  This week, the client told me sarcastically to go through the phone book and write each person a check for $100 until all the funds were gone.  I said, "Excuse me, what will this accomplish?"  The response, "When there is no more money, there is no more money."  I took a deep breath, waited, waited some more, and then put my hand on the clients arm and said, "Are you sure you are fit to be an Entrepreneur?  A sole proprietor business owner?  Are you sure this is for you?"  The response, "No, I am not sure, but I have made it two years."  The client continues to ignore emails and text messages and gives me excuses as to why there is no time to respond...or complains that I send way too many, yet if I don't keep them informed on every detail accuses me.  The client gets irritated when it is time for an estimated tax payment to be made, payroll taxes are deducted, equipment quits working, government rules and regulations change, and constantly feels people are out to get them, etc.  The use of profanity is like it is every day language, and the immediate attitude is to storm off or get fuming mad; ultimately, a very short fuse.  The client has to take monthly anger management classes due to issues of domestic violence in the past and a situation with a divorce, so this is a known problem.

I had hoped by now that the client would have learned that I will do anything and everything to help and therefore swearing at me and taking your frustrations out on me is not necessary or productive.  Time has passed but things have not changed.  Yes, the profanity and stresses go through times of being worse then others, but the overall demeanor of the office has not changed.  I actually dread going to the office because of the verbal abuse, lack of decision making, lack of communication, lack of information, lack of adherence to rules and regulations, lack of desire to change, lack of support to decisions and things I do, lack of respect, lack of concern for issues, etc.  

This week I was so greatly bothered by the outbursts and language that I texted my client:

"I do not like it when you get mad. I don't like it when you swear. I am not used to either and not sure how long I can take it.  I had hoped it would get better and with time and working with me you would not swear when I bring bills, when things don't go as you wish, etc.  I work very hard for you, want you to succeed, but am not sure I can take this.  It eats me up.  It's very difficult.  I feel you are never happy with what I do.  You never like the office situation.  I don't know what more to do.  I understand that life has its moments of being too much.  I feel that way at times, however I think there are plenty of words in the English language to use without profanity to make a point."

The response: "Then I guess you may have to quit, don't know what to say to that otherwise, sorry. You take it personally, sorry, not meant that way, we may not be compatible, I really don't know.  I have a business, stresses, doctor stresses are enough.  It all boils over sometimes."

I am at a point now that I am facing the hard facts, my client has no intentions of being different.  This is not the first time I have communicated that I don't like it when profanity is used and anger is taken out on me, it just has been several months since I did so.  I don't want this type of working relationship and I have determined that I believe that I need to re-evaluate this clients arrangement.  But in order to decide what I feel I should do from here,  I have to face the questions I started this post out with.

Am I afraid to make a decision based off of fear?  Fear that if I fire this client their business will fail.  Fear that they will go out of business because of me.  [This client won't take on these tasks and currently has nobody else to do them, and I doubt would even attempt to replace me.]  Fear of the unknown.  Fear of the financial impact to me.  [They are one of my top 3 clients.]  Fear that another client may not renew a contract and if I fire this one, I am only hurting myself.  Fear of what the staff will face if I fire this client.  Fear of making the wrong decision.  Fear that maybe I don't see the big picture of what God wants from me in this situation.  Fear that maybe I am supposed to be learning something from this situation and maybe I haven't learned.  Fear of being torn as to what the right decision is. Fear of what this ongoing stress is doing to my body.

Or is it a lack of trust?  Lack of trust that God will provide, just as He has since I lost my full time job in August 2010.  Lack of trust that God will answer because He knows all things.  Lack of trust that God will guide me in this decision.  Lack of trust that God will direct me in knowing what to do with this client.

In working with another client this week, one that is the complete opposite, I shared what I was dealing with and that I potentially am considering firing a client and why.  This client was very surprised that I have been putting up with this type of behavior and expressed concern, along with the fact that they were sorry I was having to deal with these things.  Their assessment, with very little information, was that this client seems to be that of a surgeon mentality, one that thinks that they can say and do whatever they want with no consequence.  The analogy was a perfect one and one I had not thought of, but have experienced the mentality of surgeons in previous working environments, and it fits entirely.  

The conversation has stuck with me and I have reflected on the point several times.  Once again, made my heat sore in thankfulness.  Thankful for this client and the fact that God has allowed me to have a client [and for that matter nearly all employers - though I have had some great bossses] that is a complete opposite of any that I have ever worked for in nearly 17 years [March 2013 will be 17 years] of being in this industry.  I have deep gratitude for the people God puts in your path to assist you with your journey.  

I am not sure if I am acting out of fear or out of lack of trust.  I do know I have lots of thoughts and at the moment they seem to be a balled up mess...and I have lots of questions:

Do I wish to continue to be treated like this?
Do I wish to try to decrease my involvement with this client and let my employees handle everything that they can so I don't have to face this?
Do I want my employees to have to deal with this treatment?
Do I want a client who is not on board with me?

I must remember...
There is no fear in love.  [I John 4:18] NIV
God is the author of order not confusion. [I Corinthians 14:33] KJV
If you don't have all the wisdom needed for this journey, ask God. [James 1:5] The Voice

I request your prayers for me.  

Prayers that I will not have fear.  Prayers that I will trust God's perfect plan.  Prayers that I have wisdom.

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