I've always believed that your word is your bond.
Looking someone in the eye, telling them you are going to do something and shaking their hand is as good as a contract. Sure, I know that doesn't hold up in court and in today's world those handshakes are happening via e-mail and other electronic mediums it is a whole other ball of wax.
But, even though it is different, it is still important. Perhaps even more so because the Internet never forgets.
Unfortunately, I was reminded of this yesterday when a company that I took several hours out of a very busy schedule at an event to help with a marketing program of theirs, backed out of what they promised me.
Not only did they leverage my name, reputation and valuable time for their benefit, but in the end it was a complete one sided relationship where they got plenty out of it and all I was left with was frustration and a complete distrust of everyone involved with them and their company.
I do a lot of things for free. I enjoy helping people. I like taking part in fun initiatives when they present themselves.
My time is extremely valuable. Everyone should protect their time as one of their most valuable assets since it is the one thing you can never get more of.
But, because of this incident I'm certainly going to be more careful about who and what I agree to work with. Being taken advantage of never feels good and none of us should have to stand for it.
Make sure that you stand by your word. Yes, we all make mistakes and when they happen appologize and move forward to fix the situation. Don't appologize and you can be sure that you'll be labeled as someone not to work with and trust me when I say that word gets around very quickly when this happens.
Maybe it is small town of me, but if you can't stand behind your word and be a good human in the process, than I've got no desire to help you out in any way.
I only want to work with good people, doing great things and who value my time.
Life is too short to be an asshat. Be a good person. I promise it'll be more fun.