With the school year beginning, I thought I might reprint an article from about five years ago, when I had my weekly ezine. In my opinion, the Law of Authenticity, (Law #4 of The Go-Giver), has never been embodied better and more effectively than in this example.
Recently, my fourth grade teacher, Miss Kadlik/Mrs. Mahan was in town with her husband, Mike, who was here on business. While in the area, she decided to visit my Folks, who live near me. She was first my teacher. Then, three years later, my sister, Robyn’s. Throughout the years, she maintained occasional and holiday-season contact with Mom and Dad.
On the first day of fourth grade, Miss Kadlik, a beautiful, elegant “older woman” (after all, she was 23) 🙂 stood in front of us to introduce herself. Her smile was reassuringly sweet, as we would later learn was her personality and entire essence.
The first words she uttered taught me a lesson that, not only have I never forgotten, but would use throughout the years when it came to “Winning Without Intimidation.”
She said, “I just want all of you to know that I’m just out of college, this is my very first class, and I’m very, very nervous right now.”
You could have heard the “proverbial” pin drop. We were silent.
“What?” We must all have been thinking (I know I was). “A teacher…nervous? What could she possibly be nervous about?”
Here was her intuitive brilliance, and how you can utilize this contrarian wisdom in dealing with stressful situations and difficult people.
She admitted her feelings; her fear. She trusted us with those feelings. She made us her partners in what was, for a very young woman just out of college facing a crowd of potential hoodlums, 🙂 a very stressful situation.
And, we responded to it. She immediately won us over, and although we still couldn’t believe a teacher (i.e., authority figure) was nervous because of us, we were determined to make sure she would get through her difficulties.
So often, whether in business or interpersonal situations, we are afraid to admit our fears, to “let our guard down,” concerned that the “dogs and lions” will surround us if we do.
There’s a commercial that’s been popular here in the U.S. for several years now. It’s for an antiperspirant and the catch phrase is, “never let em’ see you sweat.” In other words, if others know you’re not totally calm, cool, collected, and in control, they might respect you less, step all over you, and otherwise take advantage of you.
Typically, I’ve found that not to be true. Ninety-nine times out of 100, if you’ll let people know you are not “all that”, and even that you have your fears and trepidations, they will do their best to put you at ease, will unconsciously root for you to win, and will often even become your partner in doing so (of course, all situations are different so, while understanding the meaning of what I’m writing, judge each situation accordingly).
People relate to those who are “human” and experience occasional lapses of self-confidence, as do they. While the slick person may overwhelm and dazzle, they typically are not as relatable as the “real” human being.
So, while being confident, prepared, and excellent at what you do is a winning course to take, during those times when, for whatever reason, you do feel overwhelmed, under-confident and just a little scared…admit it, and win.
And, thank you Judie Mahan. It was great seeing you again!