I heard some really good advice many years ago when I was helping a client fight with the government on a GST issue. My client was not happy with the government and we were meeting with the chief of appeals. That means he had already lost round one with the auditor and we are appealing to the next level of government. The chief of appeals gave my client some very good advice as we started into the process:
“Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.”
I loved this advice. He wasn’t telling my client he was going to lose. He was honouring the optimism while also politely preparing him for the less desirable option. The advice was optimistic and practical at the same time.
Footnote: I also remember a funny story that same chief of appeals told. When he started working for Revenue Canada he had to work the front desk to assist tax payers who come into the tax office. I guy showed up with 12 years worth of tax returns to file! Harry asked the guy why he hadn’t filed in 12 years? The guy explained that he came into the tax office with a question 12 years ago and the person he talked to said he would get back to him. They never did!