Thursday, June 11, 2009

How to Eat Crow: Lessons Learned in Staying Humble

Have you ever totally “hard charged” a meeting, knowing you were super confident & could literally own the room from start to finish…but then got completely checked when you overwhelmed everyone? Or have you ever walked into a situation thinking you know WAY more than you do, and overcompensating in order to “save face” with your peers or superiors?

Oooof (that's my kick to you in the gut). How’d that feel? Yep, I’ve been there (c'mon, every Girl Friday stumbles on her pre-meeting Sbux runs here and there). Here are five ways to learn a "keep it real" lesson in any situation – and be proactive enough to walk into that next meeting, business call or prospecting appointment, “sharp & on the ready!”

1) Never assume. If you walk into a situation overconfident (and salespeople, do not mix “amping yourself up for a situation” with overconfidence – you can get your game face on without getting cocky)…you automatically assume that everyone else cares. Hello, this is not about you – and when you assume it centers around you, it takes objectivity out of the scenario completely.

2) Listen. It’s like Mom always said, “open your ears & knowledge will flow in.” If you focus on others, it gives you a chance to not only empathize, but also help find a solution to the challenge they might face. Listen, and remember you should be an active listener.

3) Follow up to #2 – choose your responses wisely after listening. Since you’ll already be a new Empathy Expert, now it’s your true challenge – how you respond. Don’t feel pressured to have some wise solution – sometimes, silence & more time to process is just what the group needs. Hot air doesn’t power a factory – smart energy does.

4) Learn something in every meeting. Find a takeaway. I found out an amazing lesson one day, ha ha – that when I shut up, it actually opened up my ears enough to not only PROCESS what others were saying in the meeting, but actually LEARN something in the meantime. We’ve got a finite amount of time on this “business earth” as individuals – it’s worth our while to find an educational aspect about every interaction we have in business.

5) Don’t read your own press releases. A friend of mine wrote this into a contract for his employees, and I love it – meaning, stay humble. In all facets of an organization, humility garners you general respect, no matter the person you’re speaking with and nor what level of expertise. Keep it humble, REAL and honest - and your employees, vendors & peers will seek you out for regular guidance.

Remember – you can ALWAYS keep your rock star status without looking pushy, overconfident or cocky. It’s all about listening to what’s inside, rather than worrying about portraying what’s on your outside. Be YOU, every day, and be a BETTER you. That’s the challenge.

Until next time, rock stars. Go get your sales! (Oh, and if you need help with that: internal plug, drop me a line at

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