Are you ready for this? Because I'm totally going to tell a mom story.
I'm going to tell a mom story in a post with the word “sex” in the title. But it's okay, because you're going to love the story. And then you're going to go off into the world and do amazing things, all thanks to MY MOM. If she were still alive, I'd absolutely make that her Christmas gift, because who doesn't want their words of wisdom being broadcast to the world, potentially changing lives? It's almost as good as being quoted on a coffee mug. You know–the good kind you can get in Barnes & Noble?
On with the story.
So, when I was a little girl (read: under the age of 14), I was painfully shy. You'd never know it now, but it's true. I desperately worried I was never as witty as my peers, or that somehow, everyone knew more than me, and if I opened my mouth to say something, it would inevitably come out sounding stupid. And I was morbidly, gruesomely, violently afraid of sounding stupid and, worse, I was even more afraid of being laughed at.
Oh god was I afraid of being laughed at.
As a result, whenever certain social situations came up, I was terrified on the inside. It was a lot of pressure trying to come across as cool with the cool kids, who had started taking an interest in me. I had to constantly be monitoring the next words out of my mouth. When they were talking, I was busy thinking of the next thing I would say, rehearsing different lines in my head before I actually said them, silently punishing myself when none of them seemed good enough, or clever enough, or funny enough. I thought that any minute they'd see through me, and suddenly they'd realize I wasn't one of them. The gig would be up, and I'd be called out for what I was–just some shy geeky girl who somehow snuck past their radar.
So naturally, I turned to the same top consultant that any adolescent girl turns to: My mom.
Rather ironic, considering that she, herself, was as introverted as they come, with her gardening and her books and her paintings and her pottery. But as it turned out, from years and years of practice, she had managed to figure out a very special trick–a trick she promised would, in fact, make people like me without me having to worry about saying the right thing all of the time. This was sounding good.
“My sweet Ashley,” she said, as she looked at me with kind, sympathetic, brown Italian eyes. “The key is to stop concentrating on how you feel, and to start concentrating on how the other person feels.”
“Oh yeah?” I replied. “And how am I suppose to do that–telepathy?”
“Ash,” she said. “If you truly listen to the other person, and start showing a genuine interest in them, you'll make them feel good. And when you make someone feel good about themselves, they'll automatically be drawn to you because of it.”
“But the best part,” she continued on, “is that if you're really listening, you won't have to think about your response at all–it'll just come naturally.”
I nodded my head.
And then I went out and–gulp–experimented.
Interestingly enough, it turned out that–for the first time in the history of moms worldwide–she was actually right. This, coming from a woman who, consistently and for reasons unknown, insisted on pronouncing “Sci-Fi” as if it were, “Sky-Fi.”
Her words are something I've never forgotten, and I guarantee, the next time you meet someone, if you encourage them to talk about themselves, they will love you. Potentially boring at times (this is where a bottle of wine comes in handy), but it works. Some kind of self-validation crap–who knows.
But at the end of the day, I have my mom to thank not only for my surviving and thriving during my teen years, but also for the success I've experienced throughout my life in biz-nass.
And that's really the whole point of this story, because as much as I love rambling on about my mom and her self-help-bookish-ways, this absolutely applies to business as well.
The next time you're selling something, whether it's a product or a service, or even something without a price tag attached, like your opt-in email list, your ideas, or even YOURSELF (no, not like that, sicko), you've got to think: HOW CAN I MAKE IT ABOUT THEM?—
At the end of the day, when you make it about them, they'll like you. And when they like you, they'll buy from you. Period.—
How do you suppose the shy girl turned out to have some of the highest sales numbers in the nation, back when I was doing magazine advertising sales?
How do you suppose I grew this website?
Most importantly, how do you suppose I manage to convince so many good-looking guys to fall madly, passionately in love with me?
Okay, so that was a lie.
But you know–in theory it could work. Though, I probably don't want to be thinking about my mom during THAT particular social situation. I recommend that you don't, either, although my mom was pretty hot.
Even if she did say Sky-Fi.