Serving clients with Fierce Love

Flaming HeartMichael Bungay Stanier is a business coach who puts out a tiny daily email that you can read in 30 seconds. It’s called Great Work Provocations. The e-blast starts my day with a challenge or a bit of encouragement, and I really enjoy it when it pops up in my In Box.

Today’s provocation was:

My goal is to serve people with Fierce Love.

Love, in that I want them to succeed thoroughly and utterly.

Fierce in that I won’t let my own fears and cowardice stop me in doing what it takes to help them get there.

How about you?

This concept of “Fierce Love” has been coming up a lot for me lately. As a marketer, as a designer, as a consultant, what do you do when  you see a stubborn client heading down a path that you know will undermine their goal? Do you fight, and risk being thought of as a prima donna? Do you comply, and risk the final product not working? Where’s that balance? Should it be balanced at all?

Work is a partnership, and hopefully it’s a loving one, full of shared goals and good intentions. But fear — of internal political pressures, detached decision makers who purposely stay apart from the process, frayed budgets, frayed nerves and looming deadlines — can undermine months of hard work and thoughtful problem-solving.

Bringing Fierce Love to the relationship seems to me to be the very best thing you can do for both your business partner and yourself. If the love provides direction, and the fierceness helps you get there, then Great Work is often the result.

Please leave a comment. I’d love to hear what you think.



  1. Nice idea but probably everybody in the company needs to buy into it for it to work. What happens when you’ve got a bunch of cynics on your hands?

    1. I think you model what you believe. The people around you see it working and adopt the behavior — and if they don’t, they don’t. I think you also communicate to them so they understand what you’re thinking and why. And, I guess, worst case is you fire them and find someone you enjoy working with.

      But I think that NOT working with Fierce Love as your guiding principle ensures the work’s not going to be satisfying to yourself. So it seems to me you have to start there and work outward.

      Not that I’m so perfect at all this. Yet.

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