Thursday, September 07, 2006

Don't Give 'Em Permission

I do customized training for companies of all sizes and love the experience because you really get an opportunity to effect change in both the organization and amongst individuals. What I enjoy the most is the amazing insight you glean from people. Their hopes, their fears and ultimately the obstacles that are often holding them back.

Recently I was preparing for a training that I was to give to a non-profit organization's board of directors on the subject of networking when I met the board president. I am relentless on customizing my presentations for my clients and took full advantage of the opportunity to pick her brain. What I discovered was amazing.

This powerful and seemingly self-confident board president who appeared, at least outwardly, to be a seasoned networker was literally scared senseless when it came to meeting new people. She absolutely hated networking and admitted to feeling physically ill before most events she was obligated to attend.

What was supposed to be a fact finding sit down turned out to be part confessional, part coaching session and mostly an opportunity to listen.

Without going into specific detail, the biggest obstacle facing this amazing woman was she lacked self-confidence. The engaging demeanor and self-confident bravado she outwardly displayed, in at least the events I had seen her at previously, was simply a act. An act was what she actually called it. As it turns out, she would literally spend hours, sometimes days, over-analyzing the connections and perceived rejections she experienced during these events. It led her to many sleepless nights and a lot of stress as she replayed each interaction over and over in her head.

Now don't get me wrong I am not a psychologist, analyst or anything of the sort. What I do have is big ears, a good heart and a good ability to help people. Not sure how or where I get that talent but I do recognize it and utilize it whenever possible.

What came of this interaction was a simple, yet often complex realization. This amazing professional was basing all of her current networking experiences and most new personal interactions on a few past misses. A few bad connections that didn't go as smoothly as she would have liked and ultimately led to her feeling personally rejected. That rejection had done irreparable damage to both her ego and self-confidence.

We openly discussed it. She was brutally honest about the fear and the anxiety she felt every time she was faced with a networking situation. She acknowledged that it was likely affecting both her career and her ability to help further the agenda of the organization. She felt trapped and alone.

I gave her one simple piece of advice which she has since claimed has helped her immensely. Perhaps it might help one of you.

No one can make you feel inferior without your permission. When we allow someone to make us feel less than we are, to outright reject us, those feelings which swell up inside of us are truly ours to control. It sounds simple, and I know I might be criticized for the oversimplification of this solution but so be it.

Simply don’t give anyone permission to control you. Don’t allow these feeling to own you. Most importantly take back control of yourself, your mind, your ego and your presence. You are the one in control. Not them!

I told her and will share with you one great four letter word that works every time I feel someone is attempting to reject or control me.


Life and in some instances, our careers, are too short to allow other people to control the rules. You are the only one who can allow someone to make you feel bad, feel rejected, feel discouraged or whatever. DON’T GIVE THEM PERMISSION.

There is a reason that it’s called self-confidence. It flows through and only through you. Not through anyone else.

Until next time my friends!!!

Ripple On!



Donna Karlin said...

I'm going to throw my two cents in...

If you're still being hurt by something that happened to you in the past, it's the thought that's hurting you, not the person.

I blogged about that way back when and received more emails because of it than you could imagine!

And I'm very glad you posted this. I'm going to forward it to a few key clients who I KNOW will benefit from reading this.

Thanks Steve! Ripple at its best eh?

MagnumVox said...

You are are so spot-on with what you are saying. Kudos, Steve!!