No one sets out to make a bad impression. Sometimes we stress about making a good impression, especially if it’s the first time we’re meeting someone.
But a subtle mistake stops people from deepening a relationship with you – whether that’s a working relationship or a personal relationship. In this week’s Wednesdays With Wayne, you’ll see the difference in approach as you engage with others.
There are two styles in engaging with others:
You could show up like a puppy, wagging your tail, tongue hanging out, and piddling on the carpet. “Do you like me? I’m likable! I like you! Do you like me?”
Approval seeking in whatever form it takes never creates the desired outcome you’re after. In essence, you’re saying, “I want you to like me so much, I’ll be who you want me to be.” If that’s the case, then where did the real you go? And if someone actually does like the fawning you, what happens when the real you starts to emerge? You’ve started a relationship based on a false foundation.
You could step in boldly and confidently. You could show up knowing that you’ve got something to offer. You could be curious (remember “stay curious™”), as you encounter the person you’ve been waiting to see. And you could step in with courage and confidence vs. withdrawing the real you and hiding behind some façade.
Usually anxiety over an encounter is based on the strong desire to make a good impression. It’s often for a big contract or for someone in authority. The “what if I’m not good enough?” question erupts in self-doubt. The desire to be liked and to gain approval overrides the fact that you have something to offer the other person. Or, maybe the truth is, you don’t.
Isn’t it better to start a relationship based on a foundation of honesty?
Here, you need to look at being honest with yourself as well as with the other person. How much energy will it take to maintain the act? Worse, what happens when do it so much that you end up believing it? You will have acted yourself into a one-down, ingratiating position that now needs to be maintained.
No. Stop. You’re better than that.
Flaws and all, you’re better than that. The flaws are what make you human and, really, they’re what make you interesting!
So be you! No one else can be.
Yes, be polite. Yes, dress appropriately. Yes… do the things you would do for a visiting guest. Just don’t over-do to the point of losing you.
This topic arose for me as I was meeting someone I had been told about. He holds an executive position for a company that may or may not choose to continue to do business with me. I’ve done my best for them. And, I’ve had the occasional gut-checks about whether it was really, really my best.
So meeting this executive was a big deal. I wanted to make a good first impression. And then I realized that what I have to offer them and their company is so important that I actually needed to see if they were a fit for me. Could I make a difference? Yes, I knew I could. Did I want them to move forward in doing business with me. Absolutely. And yet, I wasn’t willing to lose myself in the process.
In the past, I would have gone out of my way to be the piddling puppy: “like me, like me, like me!”
Now, though I want their continued business, I stepped in knowing that I could help them. And, in knowing that, the engagement became a two-way street. The question then became, “can we work together?” That question was based on, “do we trust each other?”
Seeking approval puts you in a place of being untrustworthy because the “real” you isn’t showing up.
Value you. Show up. Engage authentically.
Rock your week! Be that special blend of you that you are.
Keep making your magic™!
~ Dr P ~