To boldly go

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This week, I am speaking to a room full of managers of Marriott Hotels on the topic of "Growth and Innovation"; and I want to leave them with one skill that will make the most impact when they go back to their jobs and the real world.  After several days of thought, I pinpointed the one skill that has made the most difference in my life... being bold.

If my life were a television show, the opening sequence would include “To boldly go where few ever do”; and “boldly” is the key word in that line.  So many social and business challenges for which people seek my help can be overcome if they simply learn the art of being bold.

I recently taught a group of men and woman how to break the ice with the opposite sex.  The average age of the room was 45-years-old, and I would consider 90% of the attendees to be prominent professionals (physicians, attorneys, entrepreneurs, etc...).  Most had been married for 20 years or more, divorced, and are now back in the world of dating.  The number one comment that I heard from both the men and the women was, “I just can’t walk up to someone that I find attractive.”

My reply, “Why not?”

What is stopping you from walking up to any stranger on the street and saying “Hi!”... even if they are attractive?  An even better question: What would happen if you did?  And yet a more intriguing question: What will you miss out on in life if you don’t?

In every boot camp that I conduct, I ask the women the following question: What initially attracts you to a man?  I consistently get the same response time and time again… Confidence (Boldness) and Humor.  This is the recipe for success when dating and in business.  Learn to be bold and funny, and you will take your personal and professional life to the next level.

Boldness is a trait that is admired by all ages of men and women.  It is respected and is a quality that is found in leaders and influencers of all types.  But, you are asking, what does bold look like?

Being bold for some is simply saying “Hi!” to the woman behind you in line at the grocery.  Like someone once told me, however; “If we are gonna do it, we may as well go all the way.”  I totally agree.  If you choose to display your boldness, do it in a way that very few people will ever attempt.  Let me give you an example.

I attended an event at an upscale sushi bar.  This particular venue on this particular evening was full of professionals.  I was working the crowd collecting and handing out business cards, booking appointments, and meeting new friends.  As I was walking past a group of people, one of the woman in the group yelled, “Hey, aren’t you Bill Gladwell?”  Without hesitation, I stepped onto an empty chair near the group; and I said, “Yes, I am.  Now, tell me something exciting about yourself.”  This immediately drew the attention of the entire group of nine people, all of them stopped their conversations, and the attention was on the interaction that we had just started with each other.

From that chair, I booked three meetings with very prominent business owners, I had a phone number pressed into my hand, I received a drink from a generous young lady, and I commanded the attention of each and every person in that group (and within sight).

Now, am I saying that you have to jump up on a chair to be bold?  Absolutely not, but you do have to stand out from the other 99% of people that you meet on a daily basis… “To boldly go where few ever do”.  What makes you different?  What makes you bold?

Allen of AskRomeo.com (a dating advice Web site) posted a column titled “On Being Cautious: A Cautionary Tale”, and he drives my point home with the following…

  • Whenever you find yourself coming up with reasons why you can’t or shouldn’t go up and talk to a girl: GO TALK TO HER!
  • Whenever you find yourself coming up with reasons why you can’t or shouldn’t ask a girl out: ASK HER OUT!
  • Whenever you find yourself coming up with reasons why you can’t or shouldn’t kiss a girl: KISS HER!
  • Whenever you find yourself coming up with reasons why you can’t or shouldn’t ask a girl back to your place: ASK HER BACK TO YOUR PLACE!

I’m sure you get my point.  Whenever you are coming up with reasons why you can’t or shouldn’t take the next step towards what you want: take that next step!

Be bold, be funny, enjoy life, and always remember… “If we are gonna do it, we may as well go all the way.”