I want you to get your watch, or something you can use to measure time. Now, go stand in front of mirror, seriously, do it.
I have an assignment for you. I want you to talk for two minutes. I want you to talk while looking at yourself in that mirror and I want your body language to be positive and supportive while you talk. Your subject matter for the next two minutes is…I like myself because.
Ready, Go ahead.
Don’t just talk for one minute, or thirty seconds. You need to tell that person in the mirror what you like about yourself for a full two minutes.
And remember, keep your body positive. Smile too, not only does it improve your “face value” but it affects your voice. Even on the phone you can tell when someone is speaking to you with a frown. It comes through in the tone, pace and inflections of their voice. Not only do you not want to be seen frowning, but you don’t want to sound that way either.
Did you do it? Did you talk for the full two minutes? Was it difficult?
If you are honest with yourself, you are probably saying yes right now. I know. I found it very difficult too the first time. In fact, having seen this exercise conducted in hundreds of workshops, classrooms and consulting sessions with executives, managers, sales reps and even students, I have yet to meet anybody who found it easy.
Why is that? There should not be a subject you are more familiar with than yourself. Why then do so many people, even those we consider the most successful, have such a challenge with this simple question?
It’s because most of us have never taken the time to truly understand who we are and what makes us tick. Even worse, most of us seem to have very little understanding of our positive qualities or how those can affect our world. That is sad because success, true success, and happiness, in all aspects of your world really start with this basic knowledge.
Let me give you just one example. Let’s do the exercise again only this time I want you to envision yourself in my office, in a job interview. If you have made it that far then you know I’ve read your resume, that we have checked out your references, are aware of your education, experience and qualifications. If you are in that meeting, we know you can do the job. Knowing that, when I ask you the question, “Why should I hire you to work for my company?” how are you going to answer me? What do you think I, or any other potential employer, wants to hear at that point?
You have two minutes. Pretend I just asked you the question and try to answer me. Go ahead and try, out loud.
Was it any easier the second time? Surprisingly, for most, it is still difficult.
Why does it matter? Let me tell you, in this case for starters.
If you have reached that stage where I am seriously considering hiring you to work in my company, my ultimate concern is going to be over how you impact the team that already works for me. Ultimately, it is the chemistry of that team and the culture of our office that determines our success. I need to know that you are going to have a positive impact on my team or on the team you will be managing for me.
More importantly, I need to know that you understand how you will be a positive impact. So, what do you think I wanted to hear?
I want to hear what you think your most positive attitudes, characteristics and qualities are. I want to measure your knowledge of yourself with my perception of you.
Moreover, I want hear which of those attitudes you think will make you an asset to my company? How will you use those characteristics to maximize your skills and knowledge in a positive way, in cooperation with the rest of us, to produce superior results and sustain the positive culture of our company? Don’t you think that you will be happier working under those conditions? Won’t you be more likely to look forward to coming to work?
That is what will get you the job. Conversely, truth be known of me, and of most executives and managers, if I don’t sense that you will be a positive impact, if I sense that you might be a little bit of a jerk, then I am going to turn over your resume and interview the next candidate, regardless of your “qualifications.” Ultimately, if I don’t find the right combination of attitude and qualifications, I will hire the right attitude and arrange training for the skills.
In fact, from I have observed in many years of successful hiring and corporate culture development that your skill, your knowledge, your absolute mastery of the technical actions and proprietary information of your business will get you all the way to level three on a scale of one to ten, in terms of your potential success. Beyond that it will be your ability to manifest that knowledge, skill and technique through others that determines the ultimate altitude you achieve. That will be the result of your attitudes and relationships.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m saying you don’t need all the knowledge, skill, technique and information your business demands. If anything, if you want to maximize your potential, your knowledge, skill and technique needs to be second to none. All I am saying is that to reap the maximum rewards from all your training and experienced will be delivered through the application of your attitudes and connections with the people you work with and for.
Do the work and get the knowledge. It is imperative, just not enough.
This is just one example of why understanding yourself is paramount to your success and happiness, but reality is that it applies throughout your life. Ask yourself what kind of impact you have on your friendships and your family. Are you an inspiration to them? Do you make them better by their association with you? How much better, how much happier would your relationships, your home life, and you, be if you did?
Only you can do it!