I met a woman at a fund raiser the other day, and she seemed quite impressive. She was well dressed, well spoken, had written a book, and knew some heavy hitters.
Then, when she explained why she was setting up a small office in another state where she spends some time, she said, “You know how expensive gas is to make that drive frequently.”
I still think she’s a very impressive woman, and I’d probably want to get to know her better. But that kind of statement tends to relegate you to second-class status. Successful people I know don’t bemoan gas prices, or complain about dining out, or express concern about taxes.
Someone mentioned to me during a recent practicum I conducted using a major business as our “laboratory”: “It was amazing. You introduced us as world class consultants and that’s how we were treated and heeded.”
Nothing amazing about it. It’s not just “dress for success,” it’s about behaving as though you ARE a success. Many people never give themselves that permission. When someone complains to me about Southwest Air and asks my opinion, I simply tell them that I wouldn’t know, since I don’t fly airlines without a first class cabin. If I’m asked about the price of gas, I remind people that the Europeans have been paying far higher prices for as long as I’ve been alive.
Successful people like to be around successful people, and your actions actually speak louder than your clothing and accessories. It costs virtually nothing to act successful. But you have to give yourself permission.
You may not have flown first class, and that’s fine. But when you start to brag that you saved $200 by checking fares at midnight, that’s not. You may prefer to travel in coach, and I can live with that. But if you tell someone else that they are foolish for traveling in first class, they’ll likely just think you’re a fool.
An old Roman phrase goes: De minimis non curat praetor. (The magistrate does not consider trifles.) Stop focusing on the life you think you’d have to lead, and start focusing on the one you should be leading.
People will regard you, first and foremost, by the way you regard yourself.
© Alan Weiss 2008. All rights reserved.