Waiting on the world to change? Change the world!

I haven’t posted in a while, as I’ve not been well. Still feeling the effects of May’s car accident which left me with a severe concussion that I’ve yet to recover from. But enough about my problems! Let’s talk destiny.

One of the many obstacles to achievement and fulfillment is our human tendency to wait for better circumstances in orde to take action.

It’s a natural tendency. First, we don’t like change. Then, there’s the fact that most of us tend toward laziness, or rather toward wanting things to be easier than we perceive them to be. However, that and $2 will buy you a halfway decent cup of cofee. I know it’s popular to say ‘How bad do you want it?’ But the truth is that it’s more important to know WHY you want it, because the ‘why’ is going to be what drives you, what keeps you going when things go wrong, what gets you up an hour or two earlier to work on your vision, and what got you started in the first place.

WHY is where you find your purpose, your strength, and reasons to go on even when it seems like you’re getting nowhere.

But to get to WHY you’ve got to know WHAT, and that’s a major problem for would-be visionaries.

Want to find your WHAT? Understand that all growth, and all improvment of life and the human condition always come from change. What is it about you that can bring a change that will benefit others enough to make them want to pay you for it, and be glad that they did?

Charisma, Part 3 – Confidence

Another vital element of charisma is confidence. Charismatic people tend to be highly confident. After all, if you don’t seem sure of yourself, it’s pretty hard for anyone else to be sure of. Especially when you’re initiating contact or trying to sell anything directly as a person, how comfortable your prospects are with you

Darkfell.com - My Art and Fiction Blog

Passion drives competence

is usually more important even than price. For many companies and individuals price is usually about #6 on the list of priorities. Elite clients in particular don’t trust cheap. They also don’t trust insecure.

When you’re confident in what you have to say and what you have to offer, it’s easier to inspire others to be confident in it, too. Some questions that may help you clarify where you might be lacking confidence in communicating with others include:

  • How confident am I about what I’m trying to communicate?
  • Why does what I’m communicating matter to me?
  • Why should it matter to anyone else?
  • If I were 100% confident about this, how would I act?

One of the key factors in being confident is competence. If someone were to ask me to give a speech on composing Latin jazz for large orchestras, I’d be totally lost. On the other hand, if I’m asked to speak on comic art, sales, or leadership, I’d be as comfortable as a pig in mud.

Another factor is passion. Even some of the most bashful, nervous types come to life when they start talking about their passion. Is there such a thing as over-enthusiasm? Sure, but my personal philosophy with regard to most things is that I’d rather beg for forgiveness than ask for permission, and when it comes to enthusiasm, it’s safer to go a little overboard than it is to show up with the personality of a handle. Now, I’m not saying to fake it, but rather to let your passion for what you’re doing come out.

Indeed, passion often drives competence. When I sustained a bad frostbite of my drawing hand and couldn’t even write my name, much less draw, my passion for my art led me to practice with thicker markers and crayons, then a thickly padded ball point pen for weeks. In the end, the art at Darkfell.com improved by leaps and bounds.

I won’t ask how bad do you want it, but rather, ‘How much do you love it?’

-Sam

P.S. Here are some of my other articles on boosting your confidence:

Quick Tips to Boost Your Confidence

The James Bond Walk

The Power of a Good Handshake

The Power of a Genuine Smile

The ABCs of Charisma, Part 2

Charisma isn’t everything, but most of us want it, or wish we had more. In last week’s post, we discussed how improving your charisma can be seen as ABC – a relationship between your Aim, Behavior and the Chemistry between you and others. Today we’re going to deal with one aspect of the behavioral side of charisma.

Yes, there are changes you can make to your behavior which can greatly increase how charismatic you seem, but first I’d like to address the one thing you can do that will make every other strategy far more powerful, and incredibly easier to implement.

AUTHENTICITY.

How do you feel about someone when you think they’re being fake?

Do you find it easy to like them?

 

How likely are you likely to trust them?

Now, I know it may seem corny to just say ‘be yourself,’ but let’s face it, the easiest way to be charismatic is to be real. Nobody likes a phony. Actor George Burns once said about honesty that ‘If you can fake it, you’ve got it made.’ The same holds true for authenticity. very few of us can be fake and pull it off consistently. The vast majority of us are nowhere near as mysterious as we think we are. If you were slick and smooth as a bag of greasy marbles, you wouldn’t be rearing this.

So, your first step in your journey to great charisma is to examine your character and personality. Who are you, really? Drop the socially convenient masks for a little while, and practice really  being yourself.

I’m not saying you should lose all decorum and share your inner demons with the world, but rather that you give yourself permission to be you. It’s a lot easier than creating a facade. Try these simple questions to help define your most authentic self.

What did you LOVE doing as a child? Dig up old photos, videos, diaries, and other things which connect to that past before you learned to conform.

What are your values  What matters most to you? Ask yourself where these values came from. Write them down and re-state them in a way that makes it really yours.

What’s fun for you now? What do you like to do but avoid doing because you think you can’t be good at it?

What are you drawn to? if you were going to have to spend the rest of your life on an island alone but could bring 10 books, what would they be?

What do you do because other people respond well? Would this change if you only ever had to please yourself?

What is your body telling you? What are the things which cause you stress, anxiety, fear? Why?

What are the ways that you function well, and not so well? For example, I do my best writing at around 4AM, regardless of what time I’ve gone to bed, so I try to get up then whenever possible.

What dreams did you have earlier in life? Not all dreams are necessarily destiny, but they can reveal patterns that will help you identify who you really are.

What is the underlying WHY In the things you do when you’re not acting out of obligation, necessity, social expectations, etc.?

When you start answering some of the questions, you’re going to find it easier to be yourself, and when people sense that you’re for real, they will tend to be more receptive to you and what you have to offer, and this receptiveness is what then will enable conscious charismatic behavior to work its apparent magic. We’ll talk about that next week.

Meanwhile, remember. An intention without a decision is just a wish, so decide today to unleash your most authentic self so that you can tap into the amazing power of your charisma.

-S

 

Some thoughts on attitude…

Attitudes, particularly the unproductive sort, can easily become excuses. Once we start to use an attitude as an excuse, it can easily become a firmly held belief, which for most of us is a pretty good substitute for truth. In fact, for many of us, it’s such a good substitute that we may very well persuade ourselves that our various attitudes and the perceptions that they create are in fact absolute, immutable truths. Such attitudes become mindsets, and dangerous ones at that, because they can direct us to make unproductive or even destructive decisions. The results of those decisions will then have a tendency to persuade us even further of the ‘truth’ which was, in fact, only a bad attitude in disguise.
Now, while most of us are familiar with the idea of a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ attitude, what we usually don’t realize is that positive or negative is really only relevant when a goal is affected. The fact that I hate McDonald’s coffee doesn’t mean a thing when I’m cooking paella. It has no bearing on how I’ll brown the chicken, or when I’ll sauté the garlic and onions, or any other part of the process. Thus, at least in regard to my paella recipe, my attitude concerning McDonald’s horrible-tasting coffee is neither good nor bad.
On the other hand, if take on the attitude that none of my current prospects wants to talk to me, then there’s a good chance that I won’t put in a 100% effort when I pick up the phone, or that I may even avoid contacting them altogether. In my first ‘Wall Street’ job, the managers would fire someone for displaying a bad attitude, and even if someone did manage to not get fired, there were other consequences. For example, sometimes a broker would get discouraged or frustrated and would say something to the effect of ‘they’re just not buying,’ and then leave the room for a while. In other cases, they’d avoid saying anything like that, but their ‘breaks’ would become more and more frequent, and soon enough, when they returned to their desk, they’d find a sign taped to the back of their chair. The sign displayed three letters: CPA. being new to the game, my curiosity overtook me, and I asked what this meant.
‘CPA’ stood for ‘Certified Phone Avoider,’ and while some might find what we did silly, no one wanted to be that guy with the sign on his chair. More to the point, the brokers who kept avoiding the phone didn’t open new accounts. Thus their frustrated attitude had a clear effect on whether they achieved their sales goals. This wasn’t because they lacked skill. They just weren’t getting on the phone. Quite a a few of them were, in my opinion, far better salesmen than I was at the time. However, I opened more accounts and did more business than they did, because I had an attitude that was the opposite of theirs. I convinced myself that if I had to come in earlier and stay later, or make twice the phone calls that others were making, I was going to do it. I would repeatedly say to myself throughout the day, “Somebody’s got to say ‘yes.’” Some days I worked from just past 6 AM to 10 PM, and sometimes made as many as 800 phone calls a day, or more.
However, while so many people in sales will say that it’s a ‘numbers game,’ that’s only partly true. I soon found out that there was much more to it than simply ‘pounding the phone.’ Good effort had to be put into each call, since we never knew if that next call was going to be that life-changing whale of a client, and at this particular firm, the senior brokers had some creative methods for attitude adjustment.
One of these would come into play when a new broker would start to get discouraged and their voice would drop in volume and their posture would slump a bit as the weight or rejection began to bear down on them. At this point a senior broker would take their chair away, usually saying something like, “You’re not getting your chair back until I can hear you on the phone,” along with a number of choice expletives. While this may seem a bit extreme, I decided to experiment with this myself and pushed my own chair away. How did this affect the outcome of my efforts? My lead generation skyrocketed, and I started opening more accounts. However, this wasn’t my turning point, and before I share that turning point, I should make a bit of a confession in my next post.

Have an awesome week!

-Sam

RIP Robin Williams

Wow. Just wow.

When I got the news yesterday morning, I thought it was a prank. I soon found out that it wasn’t. Robin Williams, who’s made me laugh since I was about 5, is gone. We’re told he took his own life. I still can’t believe it.

A friend of mine likes to say that anyone who says money can’t buy happiness just doesn’t have any. I think Robin William’sGone too soon. tragic end underscores that my witty friend is wrong. He had it all: fame, fortune, and family. His humor had made the world his oyster, and yet he was still so depressed that he chose to end his life. I can only imagine what his family must be going through.

Having been through some depression myself, particularly when I ended up homeless after Princeton, I know how quickly sorrow can turn to despair. Like Rocky said, nothing is going to hit you harder than life, and sometimes we struggle for years or even decades with wounds in our soul that just don’t seem to heal.

If you’re struggling with depression, don’t go it alone. It may feel like no one understands, but the truth is someone somewhere does, and someone somewhere would be happy as a clam in your shoes.

I won’t pretend to have any answers here, but I will say there’s no emotional wound worth your life.

Be grateful, love others, even when they don’t deserve it, and keep the faith.

Robin, you’re so greatly missed already.