No matter where you live and where you want to work, there’s probably an ocean between you and what you want. No, I don’t mean the vast body of water that covers 71% of the planet. It’s not that you live in the UK and want to work in the US. Not that kind of ocean.
It’s the ocean of thoughts that swim around your brain. Constantly circulating thoughts, feelings, and past experiences.
These include the hurts, insults, misunderstandings, false accusations, lack of validation and other debris leftover from all the people who ever spoke to you unkindly – accidentally or intentionally. All the efforts you made that went unrewarded. All the dreams that couldn’t be sustained, in reality.
This internal pollution typically isn’t visible at the surface.
I know. I have an ocean, too. I’ve had to dredge it, sift it, cleanse it and recirculate it. It’s actually part of the work I do regularly, along with checking my calendar and making my bed. It’s a daily ritual. So, when I speak to you, my ocean is clean and clear. That freshness allows me to simply say what I mean. Ask what I need to know. Listen to what you say. Hear what you mean.
In almost every interaction, I see all the old trash that litters the present consciousness of the person I’m speaking to.
Largely, this is my job. I am a communications and career coach. When you speak, I listen for what will move you forward and what is holding you back. If my ocean of thoughts were littered with the remnants of uncomfortable past experiences, I would not have a clear mind to help you read yours.
While you may rarely speak to a communications coach, most everyone else you speak to knows what I know, just in a different way. They sense that something is wrong with you. They might think you’re unqualified, overqualified, defensive, evasive, irritable, moody, inconsistent, unreliable, nervous, rude or just nutty.
If you have not succeeded, it’s largely because you are sinking in your own ocean. The undertow keeps you from being entirely present and clearly engaged with the people and opportunities around you. That’s what’s cluttering up your communication and stopping people from trusting you, liking you and caring about you. That’s why they are reluctant to hire you, promote you, award you a raise, invest in you and otherwise help you get where you want to go. It’s why you’re stopped, stalled, irritated, and find yourself stuck with “difficult” people. It’s why you don’t get a response to your resume or calls, it’s this sense that you’re somehow not “right.”
The fix? Get yourself a stack of index cards. With every negative thought – like a desire to complain, procrastinate, challenge authority or otherwise undermine yourself – take a card and write it down. Then ask yourself: “Who first told me that?” “Who gave me this impression of myself or the world?”
Do it now and never stop. Oceans need lifeguards. You are yours. If you want more tips on this, email Nance@NanceRosen.com. Subject line: Ocean.
If you always do what you’ve always done, you’re probably going to get what you’ve always gotten.Job seekers and other people with vision or ambition can’t afford to waste a moment of their travels. Even the ordinary commute can be changed-up to increase the potential for a positively life-changing connection.
Two little rules: Take out your ear buds and make eye contact. And, one biggie: practice a ready hello and a simple greeting that telegraphs you are friendly.
Mine is: “Hello and how is your day going?” That’s my personal take on my number one most recommended trigger talk for people who want to expand their network. If you’re not familiar with my communication system, I help people develop lots of simple, easy to remember bits of conversation so the toughest things in life are on automatic. Like meeting new people.
Trigger talk is something you choose to say that’s natural for you. In this instance, it’s a simple question that’s all loaded up in my brain’s “Look: a new person!” file. That’s what I mean about a phrase being “on a trigger.” The sight of a new person triggers my brain to do a specific sequence, no decisions (hence no hesitation).
When I see a new person, I have an overpowering, reflexive mechanism that makes my eyes smile, and pops these words out of my mouth:
“Hello and how is your day going?”
Trigger talk can get a lot more complicated. In presentations, you may have whole portions of product knowledge or success stories on trigger.
But, this greeting is the fundamental building block of communication. It works to increase your network. It’s not amazing, difficult or otherwise expert-level communication.
I thought a lot about the power of my greeting, and what I want people to know about me right away. With my greeting, I’m telegraphing a little kindness, a little curiosity and a little openness (all parts of my personal brand). Once you like your greeting, practice it by saying it aloud; imagining the everyday situations where you find yourself with strangers. The grocery store. The train. The walk with your dog. A new lunch place. You get the idea.
Your greeting is like your business card; it should reflect your brand.
Go where you have not been before. Greet.
I’ve had all kinds of people answer me. Some famous, some less famous and some went on to become my clients, employers, employees, investors, partners, vendors and friends.
It’s always enlightening when they respond with some specific details about their day. At that moment, my job is to just listen. My brain is trained to check its file cabinets to see if I’ve got anything stored that connects with what they’re saying. Sometimes, I don’t. So my follow-up trigger talk pops out, typically one of three choices. “Wow, that’s a lot.” “Wow, I’m glad to hear it.” Or “Wow, I’m sorry it’s not a great day.” That “wow” gives my brain time to process what I’ve heard, so the right thing comes out of my mouth.
About 20% of the time, I hear something that sounds like a good tidbit that a colleague, client or my company might want to interact on. I’ve heard:
“I just made my first big sale!”
“This commute is killing me. I’m thinking of getting a helicopter.”
“I need to spend less time eating and more time getting back into shape.”
That’s three potential leads for three different business people I know. A “wow” plus one or two more sentences: and we exchange contact information.
How can you implement this today? If you normally take the 8:15 train, take the 7:50. If you work at home, pick another destination for your travels. Walk to the far end of the biggest park, or traverse 10 big city blocks and get on a bus to make it back home. Get your bagel at a different stand.
No matter what else is going right or wrong in your life and career: know this. Everyday you have the opportunity to say the one thing that can change your life.
You can always create the opportunity to meet someone new. Do it five times a day, and my odds say you’ll have one new contact worth pursuing, profiting from or perhaps referring and (earning good deeds points).
Take the long cut.