How many times have we heard that? My entire life people have been telling me and showing me the qualities that would impress others. Unfortunately I have spent years trying to measure up to what I thought a great first impression should be.
My mom told me I should be polite, well dressed, and respectful. My dad’s take was I should be creative and strategic. I have watched others with admiration when they were charismatic, witty, passionate, intelligent, charming, personable, humble and wise.
In the end I became hesitant and unsure. I wasn’t insecure about what I thought and knew but about when and how to say it. In short I began to hide while I figured out the “right strategy” to present myself to life.
I’ve learned to recognize the signs of that same inner struggle in others. Here are some warning signs to look for.
- Smart people going quiet in meetings
- The look of curiosity and keen insight in someone’s eyes left unexpressed
- People waiting for permission before sharing ideas
- Watching which way the wind blows, a hesitancy to speak first
I’m not sure where or when it happened but at some point in my life I decided the first impression wasn’t nearly as important as the last impression. That’s the one that open doors. With that I forgot about the right way to start and just began. Somehow it’s worked out. I have the right stuff I just needed to lighten up on the beginning and work towards the ending.