Whilst it matters that we look within, have self-awareness, and own who we are, there are stacks of reasons to build the skills to build relationships with those we meet.
A simple example is my connection to my recent podcast guest, Michael E Gerber.
16 years ago I met the famous author and business thought leader. In a room of 20 business owners, one of us asked questions, and got chatting with him. That would have been me. 19 people just sat and listened and nodded along. I couldn’t believe it at the time, and I still don’t today. Too often, people think the moment is not for them. That they’re not ready, or they won’t be seen as being smart enough, or they’ll say something silly…
So they sit.
Watch the moment.
Be observers, not participants.
What. The. Actual. Fxxx.
Anyway, he was awesome, and gave me fabulous advice that I acted on and have been acting on, all these years.
Fast forward to today, and because I was WITH HIM then (not just staring at him), when we reached out for him to be on my podcast, he readily agreed. And once the podcast was over, he reached out for another conversation, and then another…
And another this week.
We have much in common. We have similar energies. We “see” business in a similar way. We have fun together. All this is true. But think about it. Haven’t I been becoming the person I am for the past 16 years (and the rest)? Haven’t I, since that first encounter, been building on that earlier (no doubt clumsy) skill?
It's not just that we are connecting so well now. It’s that I’ve been practicing for this moment for years. I’m not waiting for the perfect time. I don’t passively watch and walk away saying “I’m inspired”. I’m in there. Practicing skills. Experiencing the moment fully. I may feel nervous sometimes, but being timid is a sure way to miss the moment, and be disregarded by the person you’re with. Holding back is a sure fire way to miss opportunities, be disregarded, and be unnoticed.
Think about how you enter a room, an event … How do you enter? Are you there to connect?
To meet people.
To figure out how you can serve?
To build your skills as a relationship builder.
Are you treating that experience as the preparation you need for an encounter you will have in 16 year’s time?
Or are you timid?
Waiting for others to lead the way in conversation. Watchful. Wary. Telling yourself “I’m just checking everything out, then I’ll…” or “I don’t know anyone well enough”, or “I have to build my confidence first”.
My view… it’s all self-indulgent and selfish. It means everyone else has to make the effort, make sure you’re okay, work around you, try to get you to “open up” … It’s BS and bugs the heck out of me when I see it.
Do them a kindness and don’t work hard to make them comfortable, because it’s a skill they need to develop for themselves.
We are grown-arse adults. We are in the business of relationships. How we are today is the window to how we will be then. We can make a choice, any time. And holding back and being timid. Is. A. Choice.
If, in a room of 20, you are joining in, being curious, open, adventurous, good-humoured about mistakes, and encouraging of others, then in 16 years’ time you will have had the practice you need to have the skill you need to be ready for a bigger moment.
Anyway, I’m enjoying my renewed friendship with Michael Gerber immensely.
He’s honoured that I didn’t just read The EMyth Revisited five times in the my first year in business, he’s honoured that I’ve acted on it. Coaches are, most definitely, in the category of “technicians having an entrepreneurial seizure” unless we systemise, sell the system, and learn to replace ourselves.