On Saturday, I will mark another year of adventure on this planet. And from the pages of my “I wish I would’ve known then what I know now,” book, I am going to blow out the candles on my cake making wishes – not for me – but for you!
These wishes express my current attitude toward life. They are not traits I was born with. They are some of the approaches to life I have chosen to develop over the years.
Life is full of choices. How you act and react in your professional and personal life is truly up to you.
I share my wishes now. I wish for you to:
1. Be curious. Don’t breeze through your day narrowly focused on only the tasks at hand. Take a moment to explore and wonder about other people and places and current events. This is not the simple “be informed” approach, it’s a way to make yourself probe further. It’s training yourself to ask the why about things. Nurturing curiosity is a great way to engage. In your community. In your profession. In your friendships. And that brings me to number two.
2. Ask follow-up questions. How often during a conversation, are we waiting for the other person to stop talking so we can offer the “Yeah, that same thing happened to me only better” story? Instead of responding to a potential client’s or customer’s story with your own, ask a follow-up question. “What happened next?” “How did that make you feel?” “What is going to be done?” I learned this during my interview days as a correspondent for CNN, but it also has so many practical applications. Asking a follow-up question not only can provide you with helpful and interesting information, it also tells the person you really care to hear more from them. People like to talk about their experiences. Listen to them.
3. Be kind, first. Don’t wait for the other person to make the first move. Offer a “good morning” to a stranger tomorrow as you walk to your office. Ask the barista how her day is going, and mean it. Take two minutes to chat with your client or prospect about the weather or their family or their health. Many people I find that most, not all, people will respond to kindness – in kind.
4. Deploy the power of the smile. Connected to number three is this wish: A lot. Even if you’re upset, nervous or angry. Your brain is wired to be constantly scanning for your smile muscles to engage. Research shows that even if you fake a broad smile, your endorphins will kick in and you’ll feel better. I love this one.
5. Be bold. Sometimes if you think too much, you’ll psych yourself right out of an opportunity. Submit a “Call to Papers” blindly for a conference you found on Google. Call the publisher of a newspaper whom you have never met and ask for a seat on that VIP rodeo train trip. Each of these I have done. (That executive I reached out to on-line is now a client. I will be speaking in June at the 16th International Conference on Human Resources. And the publisher who just happened to pick up the phone at 4pm on a Friday because his secretary was gone for the day – was so blown away that I called him directly – he put me right on that trip and I made many wonderful connections that day.)
A friend told me today, “only fools follow rules.” So, while you may feel foolish about daring to toss a tweet to someone you wish to engage, Give it a go. Be respectful but get creative. It won’t always work, but it certainly won’t if you don’t try. And just think how foolish you’ll feel wondering what might have been.
These may not be the secrets to the universe, but I sincerely wish you for to experience first-hand the little life-changers behind these wishes. Speaking of secrets, I also hope that the notion that of, “if you tell someone your wish, it won’t come true,” is just a myth!
So, catch these wishes, take hold and turn them into action and a lifestyle. Let me know which ones resonate with you and what others you have adapted into your own lives.
Every day is a chance for a fresh start. Happy birthday!
Copyright 2015 Gina London. All Rights Reserved.