A close friend of mine is teaching a college leadership course, in which she was introduced to 180 seniors during the first session. Of the 180 students, only 4 of them came up to introduce themselves to her after class. Now, get this: these individuals are about to be college graduates, who are taking a leadership class, and only 4 out of 180 had the mindset to introduce themselves. Why is that?
Taking Action is Scary.
I can think of only a few reasons why only 4 reached out to my colleague, and these are important lessons for anyone who wants success in life, regardless of one’s chosen profession.
They may not know how.
I don’t blame them. As much as I hope this isn’t the reason, I understand that, with a generation of students more comfortable texting than talking, it’s not out of the realm of possibility. Situational gestures such as shaking hands firmly, smiling, or saying, “Ms. _______, my name is Mary Smith, and I’m a senior here and am excited to be in this class on leadership,” can be challenges to younger generations. The key? Do all 3; Smile, shake hands firmly (don’t hurt anyone with a vice like grip), and be pleasant, as you say a little about yourself and why you are happy to meet this person.
The person’s success may intimidate them.
The second reason many avoid introducing themselves is that they might think the person is too successful or important to meet a lowly college senior. I won’t sugarcoat it for you; they may indeed think they’re better than you. Many successful individuals have a sense of grandeur about themselves, but remember, not all of them do. Many are kind, thoughtful mentors who just want to help. If you want to meet someone, then do it; it’s as simple as that. Either they’ll be nice or a jerk, but if you don’t reach out, you’ll never know. In that way, you could be squashing potential for yourself. I will say that, in my experience, when you’re nice to someone, almost always they will be nice to you.
They may not have a strong self-image.
Our self image determines the boundaries of our success and achievement. If we feel that we lack in value and are not unique with greatness in us, then we may indeed shy away from situations like this, which take a bit of confidence and self-belief. I urge everyone to understand that there is greatness in you, and that you have a unique, personalized perspective on life, which makes you full of rare value. Be true to your self-image, and surround yourself with people who help you understand just what you are really capable of.
Here’s the truth: You can’t connect with those who could enrich or change your life if you don’t introduce yourself to them. Approach others, and be approachable – the very best advice for anyone wanting to build a network of relationships, which can and will improve your life in so impeccable ways.