Your Success Thought on "Value"
July 20, 2005

A recent conversation with a friend reminded me of a great story to share with you.

Centuries ago an egotistical king commissioned a highly respected artist to create a one-of-a-kind painting for him. This masterpiece would represent the majesty's eternal strength and power. "How long will it take?" asked the anxious king. "Oh, months, perhaps years", replied the artist.

A year went by and no painting arrived. The king's messengers traveled to the painter's home often, inquiring about the painting. "It will take a little longer" was the artist's standard reply.

After 18 months the impatient king stormed to the home of the legendary painter himself. He demanded to know where his painting was. The artist said "it's just about done," turning to a blank canvas. He then painted a masterpiece in a matter of minutes.

Awestruck by the magnificence of the painting yet outraged by what little time it actually took to paint it, the king screeched: "Why did you keep me waiting so long? What's more, why am I paying you a fortune to work for only a few moments?"

Calmly the virtuoso looked directly into the kings fiery eyes: "I kept you waiting so long because you don't value things that come too easily to you. While the painting may have taken only a few moments, it took 46 years of study, experimentation, patience and determination for me to develop the expertise to produce this masterpiece for you."

The king had a choice. What did he value more, his precious money and the time he had spent in anticipation of the painting? If he went down this path he would have ranted and raved incessantly, possibly ended up without the amazing work of art. In time he would have grown more and more bitter about the experience, complaining to anyone who would listen.

He instead chose to let the rest go and value the painting. In doing so, the king quickly shifted his perspective, happily paid the artist and was on his merry way. In fact he valued this original piece so much that he contracted the artist to paint several more masterpieces, each one growing in cost and value to the king...and of course time to produce.

Value is intangible. You can't touch it, but you can feel it. Luckily for the king, he was able to step back from the situation far enough to feel what was of most value to him.

Modern day example: I call an attorney with a quick legal question that takes minutes to answer, yet the fee is enormous. Am I willing to take hours upon hours to do the research myself or is it of more value to me to have a trusted advisor at my fingertips to help me get where I need to go faster?

What is more important to me--time, money or certainty? That feeling of confidence to move forward quickly with her expert opinion is a huge value to me. I'm absolutely willing to pay the price.

Some people value Porsches and are willing to pay a king's ransom for them while others value travel, art, beautiful homes, children's education...the list is endless. The key is to be crystal clear on what you value. This makes decisions simple, quick and stress free. The king was temporarily confused. Once clear, his decisions were easy.

This week, give thought to where and how you place 'value' in your world. Does your standard approach move you forward? Or do you spend agonizing hours as a victim in anger, complaint and outrage as the king originally did? Luckily for him, he figured out before it was too late what he truly valued? I hope you do as well.

Enjoy your discoveries and have a great week!

Ann Golden Eglé, PCC, CPCC
Executive Coach & President
Golden Visions Success Coaching, LLC

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