The world is full of motivational speakers and plenty of hungry readers enthusiastically devouring the advice of those who have “made it” along the way. Business and branding books are spilling out of Amazon, and intensive retreats and motivational Masterclasses are bringing in millions.
But let’s be honest: Even while these books, seminars, and articles may contain useful information, how many of those who put in the effort still don’t find the success they want?
Many times, it’s because of one simple (yet often overlooked) fact: they come across as unpolished and it turns others off.
If you’re one of those folks doing everything and still not getting where it is you want to go, you may want to consider how you’re coming across to those around you.
Today, I’m sharing five ways to immediately polish your presence:
1 | Carry yourself with grace.
What exactly does this mean? Let’s look at three dictionary definitions of the word for a clue:
- Smoothness and elegance of movement.
- Courteous goodwill.
- Bring honor or credit to (someone or something) by one’s attendance or participation.
We live in a world that has become polluted with low-grade narcissism, where it seems downright dated to walk around with a gentle demeanor and a quiet pride. Do it anyway. When you carry yourself with the characteristics listed above, you stand out in a sea of self-congratulatory navel-gazers and those with brash, aggressive (and often misinformed) opinions. Walk, talk, and work with dignity, accountability, and dedication and you’ll get more than attention, you’ll gain respect.
2 | Respect those around you.
This sounds like a filler phrase, but this extension of point #1 couldn’t be more valid in the chaotic, emotional times we are in. Respecting others makes room for the appreciation of their presence, wisdom, and right to be a human being making mistakes and learning lessons at their own pace. When you help to create a space where others can exist without feeling bullied or rejected it shows that you recognize where you end and they begin. Remember this when you’re in a position of power and when you’re faced with a person who is testing your patience.
Showing respect doesn’t mean that you approve of every behavior or agree with every statement. It simply means that you don’t allow your ego (or theirs) to strip your dignity away. There is power in not having to prove you are right in every situation, even when you are.
3 | Rock those details.
Take some time to think about your personal brand as a person and professional. I don’t care how smart, skilled, or charming you are — if you look, write, speak, or follow-up like a slob, you’re going to turn people off. If you’re lazy and don’t carry your weight, no one will want to work with, date, or vouch for you.
How do your emails and texts read? What message are your clothes sending? Do you go the extra mile without being asked? Do you sound confident or timid when you speak? Are your sentences clear or stuffed with filler words? How do you greet and follow-up with people?
The more you think about the way people experience interactions with you (from start to finish), the more control you will have over your reputation, relationships, and career.
4 | Don’t assume others “have it easy.”
I once found myself texting with an athlete who was “annoyed and bored” at the SNL studio where he was hosting. The night before, we’d gone out and dozens of people approached him with a look of total adoration in their eyes.
He was clearly appreciative of his status as a revered athlete — it seemed glamorous. Later that night, he told me about some issues he was having in his personal life that could have been voiced by anyone else in my social circle.
The lesson I learned was that it was easy to glorify those who “make it” and assume that their lives are smoother, more fun, and less stressful simply because they have achieved certain wins we ache to experience. We’re all working hard every day to achieve or maintain accomplishments that are meaningful (or lucrative) for us.
5 | Deal with life like a boss.
Even when you don’t sweat the small stuff, life isn’t always going to be a smooth ride. How you deal while on the bumpier parts of that ride will impact everything from your health and wellbeing to your reputation and your relationships with those around you.
Plan ahead, stay flexible, and never lose your grit. Be willing to jump in and do what needs to be done to move things in a better direction. Do your best to keep the tone low and steady, the gaze on the prize, and know that the only thing hitting that red panic button will do is shut everything down.