That fundamental pillar is building relationships. As I learned early on, possessing skill and knowledge is important, but it's still only a fraction of the puzzle. If you can't cultivate impactful relationships, people won't discover you and you'll be an afterthought for opportunities perfect for you.
Realizing I needed to improve my people skills and learn about cultivating richer relationships, I stumbled upon a book originally published in 1956 called How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing with People by Les Giblin.
I was expecting tactics, but the biggest lesson I extracted from the book was around mindset. To cultivate and make better first impressions boiled down to these eight words:
"Other people accept you at your own appraisal."
Giblin further explained this point by stating:
"If you aren't accepted as you would like to be, maybe you should blame yourself. Act as if you were a nobody, and the world will take you at your own value. Act as if you were a somebody, and the world has no choice but to treat you as somebody."
This is common sense, but execution is different from comprehension. To successfully integrate this philosophy into your DNA, keep these two principles in mind.
1. Be mindful of how you talk to yourself.
The language you use on a daily basis carries energy within it. From a practical standpoint, think about a time when you were deep into the midst of negative self-talk.
Were you motivated to work on your projects, eat healthy food, or go to the gym?
Most likely, the answer was an emphatic "no." When you continually use language that conveys feelings of doubt and insecurity, you're suffocating your own potential.
To incorporate more precision language into your life, start by eliminating toxic words from your vocabulary. When negativity starts to arise, immediately reframe the language.
Talk and treat yourself as to how you would want others to do so. Negative opinions create a negative atmosphere and energy.
2. Make a list of what makes you great.
If you're not careful, when you're deeply entrenched into the digital world, it's easy to find yourself feeling inadequate in all areas of life. While you're most likely aware that a great majority of things on social media are an illusion, little seeds of doubt can still be planted, which can affect how you show up.
Knowing this about myself, I started to protect my confidence by creating a success document. Inside this document, I have positive reviews about my book, kind words about my articles, and client testimonials from me impacting their lives.
Anytime I have hesitation about reaching out to potential clients, I refer to this document to remind myself. If you're having hesitations about reaching out to potential clients or attending important events, create a success document.
While many people focus on handshakes, eye contact, pocket square colors, and other tactics for making favorable impressions--those will all be a moot point if your opinion of yourself isn't strong. Focusing solely on tactics is akin to attempting to build a house without a strong foundation.
The world will form its opinion of you predominately by the opinion you have of yourself.