A Simple Mental Shift that Makes You Inspiring and Magnetic
When I attended my first training event, I was surprised by the way people reacted to me.They were drawn to me. They were inspired by me. One woman even asked the host of the event to let me speak to the group, even though I wasn’t booked as a speaker!
As an introverted 23-year-old who had barely begun to set foot in the business world, I certainly hadn’t seen that coming!
So why did it happen? It was all because of a simple mental shift that had happened shortly beforehand.
It Started with A Ziplining Tour
Prior to the training event, my family and I went ziplining. There were several ziplines scattered through the forest, with a short hike between each one, and most of the group seemed content to take the journey slowly.I, on the other hand, was feeling energetic, and I kept wanting to run to the next zipline while everyone else was strolling casually.
At first, I kept this impulse in check. I didn’t want to look like I was hogging the front of the line, or like I was seeking attention. I didn’t want to stand out in a way that might annoy someone.
Then, suddenly, it hit me: “Why am I assuming that they’ll be annoyed? If me running from one zipline to the next bothers them, they can tell me so; why am I making the decision for them about whether or not it’s OK with them?”
One Revelation Lead to Another
My train of thought began to pick up speed. I asked myself, “How often am I doing this? How many times have I assumed that simple, harmless things that make me happy will annoy other people, even though nobody’s actually bothered by them? How often am I deciding for the people around me what is and is not OK with them?
“And even if someone IS bothered by something totally harmless, does that really mean I have to forego things that make me happy, just to avoid irritating someone who’s easily irritated?”
I realized that, by making assumptions about other people’s feelings and preferences, I was taking on a responsibility that wasn’t my own. Deciding how they felt, and expressing those feelings, was their job, not mine.My job was to be who I was, and to do the things that made me happy.
Yes, I still had to be considerate, respectful and responsible. But I was also free to be unique, unusual, or even weird.
If someone had a problem with it, they could tell me so, and I could decide for myself whether or not to change my behavior, depending on whether they had a legitimate concern or were simply reacting to their own personal issues.
That Simple Revelation Made A Big Difference
In short, I started acting more like myself.
As I began to accept myself more, I noticed that people responded to me more positively. I was being unique, vibrant and authentic, and even though I was young and inexperienced, people were magnetically drawn to me.
Because I wasn’t busy trying to control the feelings and reactions of everyone around me, I had more energy, I was more courageous, and I didn’t feel like I was walking on eggshells in an effort to be perfect and avoid making waves.
When You’re Free to be Yourself, Good Things Happen
When you’re authentic and open, people can connect with the real you right away, instead of having to peel back the layers of fake perfection that you use to protect and hide yourself.Showing your eccentricities, idiosyncrasies and flaws also makes the people around you feel safer. It shows them that you’re OK with weirdness and imperfections, and that they don’t have to try to be ‘normal’ and perfect around you.
Being unique makes you more memorable. Think about the people who made the biggest impression on you – were they the ones who blended in with the crowd, and didn’t do anything eye-catching or unusual? I’m betting the answer is “no”! So the next time you find yourself holding back for fear of standing out or offending someone, ask yourself:
“Am I resisting this impulse because I know it’s wrong, or is it because I’m assuming that people will be offended even though they might not be?
“Am I taking on the job of choosing other people’s feelings and reactions for them, and trying to control them, when that’s not my responsibility?” And most importantly...
Are You Ready to Take A Risk and Be Seen?
Maybe you will offend some people. Maybe some people won’t like you. That’s OK! Nobody is everybody’s cup of tea. But the more you’re uniquely, vibrantly yourself, the more you’ll be liked by the people who are right for you.Shortly after making the shift to being more authentic, I got a note from one of my fellow attendees.
During intermissions in the training, I’d often go outside and run around a bit, and after one such running break, I returned to my table to find a piece of paper that said,
“I love watching you run. It looks so fun and free. Thank you for running.”
I now pass that note on to you. Whatever your version of running is – whatever makes you happy, and helps you to be yourself and stand out from the crowd – thank you for doing it.
Thank you for running.