It’s the principle of the thing ….

By Nina Kaufman, Esq.
Image courtesy of Ohmega1982/

Image courtesy of Ohmega1982/


I’m done. I’m done! I’m not giving him anything else. The man practically destroyed my business. He doesn’t deserve another red cent.”

My client, Valerie, rants while I listen patiently on the phone. She finally got up the gumption to kick out her low-achieving business partner, and we’re in the throes of a settlement negotiation to avoid litigation. Because, like Ambrose Bierce once said, litigation is “a process by which one goes in a pig and comes out a sausage.” Litigation is costly. It saps your time. Your energy. Your finances. And keeps the problem open like a sore, festering wound. No closure. And lots of risk that you might not get your way.

Now that Valerie has taken the leap with that tough decision and exercised her “risk muscles,” she’s feeling very sure of herself. Almost cocky. “So let him bring a lawsuit if he doesn’t like it,” she says. “It’s the principle of the thing.” (Want to see an attorney cringe? Tell her, “It’s the principle of the thing.”)

The problem with principles usually not about principle. It’s about being rigid. He came on board to boost our sales, and his logs show almost no sales in the pipeline for months!” she fumed. “We took a huge hit a couple of years ago, too, when the same thing was happening.”

I get it. Underperforming business partner. Slow sales. Fears of having to close the company. You read them the Riot Act, and still no change. You put up with it, hoping for change. It doesn’t come. So now it’s Volcano Time. You’re ready to explode, and destroy everything that gets in your way.

But that’s not about principle.

A principle is a moral rule. A basic truth. A law or fact of nature. Something that does not get violated. Is not easily warped.

is that a principle (of hers) was violated. By her.

t just wake up this morning and find her company laying in financial ruin. She participated in this by not taking action sooner. By not seeking out a pair of “trained eyes”s tough to take. So, like many business owners, she wants to punish her partner and vindicate herself. But that can also keep her stuck, instead of freeing her to move on and rebuild.

So if you’re reaching Volcano Time, ask yourself “Which of my principles am I violating here?”

And more importantly, reach out to our “trained eyes” to help you get back to your basics.

You don’t gain anything by festering.

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