Lessons Learned from Business | Mantras in Dating

I have had quite a few emails from China from a source (with a Western guys name) asking to help in the request of working with a 20-something Chinese girl (based in China) to locate her a Silicon Valley billionaire, yes b as in billionaire. The guy who has been emailing me says he is represented by her family or something like that and I have always suspected that something doesn’t feel right with this whole thing.

One day out of the blue, I got a business contract sent via email to sign a deal with them when I don’t know ONE thing about this girl or her “type”  (let alone any information about her “dating agent”) other than she needs a billionaire because her family is deep in the political scene or some crock of you know what like that.

I ignored that email and then another one came today asking to move forward. I had suggested when I was in Hong Kong back in the Fall that this so called agent for the girl and I meet up at a public spot like a coffee shop in Pacific Place or something like that. He didn’t respond till much later and then said it was because his wife had a baby and he was needing to take care of the baby. Don’t most wealthy “elite” people have help and nannies to be there for the kids?  Even if the agent is not “elite” by Chinese standards, chances are the duty of a mother is to be with the baby and not the father.

My email response today was straightforward telling this guy I am not interested in doing anything with them. I feel the behavior doesn’t add up and net net, it is not ethnical. In other words, no thanks.

On a daily basis, I get so many business requests from media, other aspiring matchmakers to “team up together”, and of course hundreds of inquires from new friends of Linx about being a VIP, meeting a VIP, and much more.

With the constant excitement of running Linx and sheer intensity of what that major responsibility really means, I always remember to go back to “base line” and remember my original business mantras for when I first started my company. I do this to deal with situations like the wacky email from China today.

Be nimble, act decisively, be intelligent, follow your instincts, don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself (integrity), forge ahead, be optimistic, be kind, persevere, don’t get caught up in the drama of it all, be compassionate, listen, listen more, and never shy away from saying no.

I say NO a lot at Linx for a variety of reasons. No, this is not a good fit. No, you are not being realistic with your expectations. No, I don’t really think you trust my intuition. No, we actually don’t use algorithms here. No, I don’t have a large staff. No, you are not ready for matchmaking and need some date coaching. No, your outfit if not date worthy.  No, I don’t have the bandwidth to represent you right now. No, I can’t meet after 7:00pm as I am trying to achieve balance in MY life and have a so called “life.”

Last night I received another email from a lovely sounding woman at Stanford asking if I was “for real.” It really caught me off guard wondering WTF. She explained that up to this point, we have only been communicating via email and as such, am I am “legit business.” I was exhausted after a very intense day of VIP client meetings in San Jose, calls, and conducting a mock date in Menlo Park. I wanted to write her and say, “Actually, you called me on my sh*t. I live in Nigeria and this is a total scam.” but I didn’t.

Humor is essential to run a business like Linx. I had to laugh and be like WHAT is she thinking. Sure, she is doing her so called due diligence but seriously? Acting on that initial instinctual response is sometimes not the right thing to do. Like anything in life, let it simmer and wait to respond for at least 24 hours before you do so. Instead of writing something goofy (which even through I felt like doing but never would have actually done), I knew I needed to wait to respond till the next day. Today I will write something sweet and nice explaining how I am not a scam or robot in Africa wiring money into some shell account and instead a little business owner housed on a historic property in Menlo Park. Hasn’t she read any press on Linx? Hmmm.

Life is full of some of the most twisted ironies. The world is also VERY small. This has played out many times this week. I hear and see so much and not to toot my own horn know a lot and know a ton of people. Ex’s couple up with other ex’s of clients, he dated her, she dated him, she had an affair with his friend, the list goes on. Sometimes in hearing all of this, I need to just go in a cave for a bit. Another lesson of being a good business owner is learning to shut off/down at times. Last night after the absolutely good yet taxing day, I simply had to shut off my laptop. Usually at night I am banging out email after email. Saying No to more emails is OK. It allows one to recharge and do the good old reboot if you will mentally. You will be stronger and ready for the next day.

Interestingly, all of these principles and lessons of business ownership apply to your dating.

Be nimble– in dating you need to be resourceful and wise about how you approach the so called scene.

Act decisively– If you say you will go out, go out. Don’t flake on your date. Follow an East Coast attitude that way. New Yorkers don’t make excuses. West Coasters are notorious for wishy washy, flaky behavior.

Be intelligent– About who you choose to date but also when you are on your date. Brush up on all current events and interesting topics to discuss. Men are attracted to a woman who lights up a room because she is confident and smart. Women are attracted to a man who is confident, well versed, and passionate.

Follow your instincts- Especially with online dating if you feel that someone is not authentic in their profile or there is a shadow of doubt in your mind, don’t go out. Through whatever method of dating, if your gut is saying something about your date, follow what your instinct says. Chances are your instincts are correct.

Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself (integrity)- He wants to sleep with you and you aren’t ready but feel the pressure. Tell him to go ‘you know what himself.’ Kidding. Stand up for yourself and say you don’t sleep together unless there is monogamy. Sex aside, if your date puts you in a compromising situation, speaks poorly of others (and you know that is not how you were raised to be), you must have the conviction to stand up for yourself (and in some cases excuse yourself from the date if it is going that poorly and he is just a total pig).

 Forge ahead– Dating can be draining and often frustrating. A series of poor dates can create a hazy attitude and seeing the so called “silver lining” becomes dismal and bleak.  Take a mini break from dating if you are in a rut. After your 2 week “hiatus”, forge ahead and march on.

Be optimistic– some stat I found says that 44% of the adult American population is single. That translates to over 100MM people. Those are a lot of fish in the dating pond. View the pond as a sea and start exploring options today. Also always be an optimist on a date. No one wants to be out with Debbie Downer or Serious Sam. Eeek.

Be kind- to those in your life. Compliment your date. Be kind to the waitstaff. In other words, be a nice person. People are very critical of others especially on first dates. Remember that your date is observing you and watching you. Snapping at the waitstaff, mocking others, or being rude to your date will simply become red flags for your match.  Be someone that others want to be around. Be likable! 

Persevere and don’t get caught up in the drama of it all– When you meet someone right for you, chances are you aren’t going to be asking for all your friends advice. When someone is questionable that you meet, chances are you will be emailing and calling Mom, girlfriends, etc about your date and deconstructing every part of your date.  Everyone always wants to be in each other’s business. Sometimes when it comes to dating, the best thing is to keep your personal life close to you and that is it. Otherwise, everyone will have an opinion and all of a sudden, that can convolute your perception and experience with the person you might like.

Be compassionate- Make a manta to yourself to be empathetic, smile, listen, do small acts of kindness, step into your dates shoes, don’t be judgmental, let your guard down, be vulnerable, admit you are not perfect, be deep, show passion. In other words,  do to others what you would have them do to you.

Listen- “The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.” —Ralph Nichols

Listen more- A lot of men and women tell me that they are most impressed when their date later recalls something they said. Focus on your date, put virtual horse blinders on, and listen. Listening and remembering is a huge form of flattery.

Never shy away from saying no– to anything that doesn’t feel right to you when dating.

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