Balanced Success

Mark Sincevich

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I watched the new television show “The Apprentice" in amazement. It combines ‘live TV’ with a multiple-week job interview. Sixteen finalists were chosen from over 215,000 applicants, as only one person will be selected to be a Donald Trump Company President. We must still be in a tough job market for a position to have received so many applications! The finalists were immediately divided into two teams of eight men versus eight women.

Their first task was to see which team could sell the most lemonade after receiving $250 in seed money. I wonder if the little kids who sell lemonade were watching for ideas. Anyway, Donald Trump said it's all about who makes the most money at the end of the day, period. The women beat the men hands-down by selling over $1,250 of lemonade even after getting a late start. However, I feel that to make a decision based solely on how much money was made is irresponsible. It reminds me of the infamous line from the movie, “Jerry Maguire, " ‘show me the money. ’ It's never about how much money is made, and I am concerned about the message that this type of show sends.

What about making sure that the participants are having fun? And did they make a positive impact on the environment? If I only focused on making money with my photography and professional speaking services, I would be ignorant and unresponsive to my customers. I always want to make sure that my customers are having fun and one of the ways that I do this is to constantly add value. If I contribute positively to customer's experience, then I know everyone will have more fun in the process.

I also leave a positive impact on the environment by never ordering prints with my photography. I put my images directly onto a compact disc and if I use digital only, then chemicals aren't used in the developing process either. When I speak professionally, I severely limit the number of handouts so as not to waste paper, and I encourage customers to go directly to my web site for my articles and other materials. In addition, I make sure that I donate 10% of my after-tax profits to charity, and with my fine art photography, I offer a money-back guarantee.

Merely looking at the total profits at the end of the day doesn't teach good habits. It is significantly less expensive in the long run to make sure that the environment is taken well care of so that a large clean up bill doesn't choke a business down the road for example. What if one of the team's on “The Apprentice" used some of their profit at the end of the day to buy dinner for a group of homeless people? What if one team sold less lemonade while still making a profit, but each cup had positive health benefits? This ought to change how the winners are judged at the end of the day.

While it was emphasized that the finalists were to start at the beginning (where little kids start) by selling lemonade, what I am saying ought to be emphasized at the beginning! It is important to consider the long-term consequences of your actions and it is actually more profitable to make modest gains early while considering balanced success along the way, making a profit, making sure that you and your employees are having fun, and making a positive impact on the environment. Good habits that are taught early and practiced often, last a lifetime.

Mark Sincevich works with individuals and organizations to increase their communication power so that they gain a fresh perspective, generate new ideas, sharpen the focus and create more business. He uses a unique photography angle in his creative keynotes, meeting facilitation and powerful presentation skills programs. Mark is the Founder and Chief Perspective Officer of Staash Press, a member of the National Speakers Association and the Executive Director of the Digital Photography Institute. In between assignments, Mark can be found spending time with his family or writing in cafés with character. He can be contacted at 301-654-3010 or


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