I ducked into Nelson’s office. He was already talking with another friend of ours. We had been at a national economic outlook presentation a little earlier in the day. I think our heads were all still spinning because of the rosy projections presented there.
Yet, it was not all roses when I walked into Nelson’s office. The household income figures presented really got under his skin. I could see why he was bothered. It’s always difficult when you begin to believe that, seemingly, everyone is making more money than you.
“I deserve to make more money!” Nelson said.
“You do!” I replied.
Our friend Monte looked up sheepishly and didn’t say anything at all.
“I’ve been thinking about making some changes, perhaps getting another job!” Nelson added.
I was surprised to hear him say that, because he works for a great company and he’s a commissioned salesman. That means he has quite a bit of control over his income. And, here’s the thing: in a way, we’re all in the same position, even if we’re simply selling our services to our current employer! I’m a commissioned salesman and sometimes I start feeling the same way. I call it the “I Deserve Trap.”
Luckily, on this particular day, my legs were not being crushed in this common trap.
“Yes! You do,” I said to Nelson. “But you also have to earn it.”
He looked up at me. He was seated and I was standing near his desk. I could see his eyes begin to spin, round and round they went, as if acting in the role of gears to turn his brain.
“There is a difference between deserving and earning,” I added. “Everyone deserves more than they currently have. That’s just one of the natural laws we all intuitively feel inside. The trick is to also understand the pursuit part of life’s equation. We’re all free to pursue!”
Nelson’s eyes brightened as those words slipped through his ears to lubricate the spinning gears of his mind.
“I do deserve it, don’t I!” he said. “I just forgot about the earning part for a minute.”
I had quietly ducked into Nelson’s office to make sure he was doing well and he, along with our mutual friend Monte, had no intention of rediscovering the I Deserve Trap that had been sprung into our consciousness during the national economic outlook presentation earlier in the day. I’m sure our heads were all still spinning, because of the rosy projections presented there.
But it was not all roses as I walked out of Nelson’s office. I could envision them beginning to bud, because he was once again confident in his ability to pursue his dreams. He knew what he needed to do to get what he deserves.
I could see the determination in his eyes, as he was already at work figuring out the next steps to earn what he wants.
I opened the door to leave, looked back at Nelson’s determined eyes, and felt a greater resolve to keep my own legs free from the crushing grasp of the I Deserve Trap by pursuing my own dreams, too.
After all, we deserve to go out and earn whatever it is we’ve decided we deserve!
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.