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Hang Out With People That Intimidate You, It Will Better You

Hang Out With People That Intimidate You, It Will Better You

Most of us have felt intimidated by other people at one time or another in our lives. As children or teens, we were often intimidated by bullies or the most popular kids in school. As we grow to adulthood, we can feel intimidated by many kinds of people, even when there is no direct threat to us. We may feel this way in the presence of people who are beautiful, charismatic, famous, or smart. People who intimidate us as adults are also likely to have power and influence. In these cases, the feeling of intimidation comes from experiencing these two things simultaneously:

  • An admiration of someone because they possess a trait or traits deemed desirable by you and or by society.
  • Feelings of inadequacy in that person’s presence because of your perceived lack of these desirable traits in yourself.

While your natural inclination might be to avoid such people, spending time with them can really help you grow personally and professionally. Here are 5 things you will learn by hanging out with them:

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1. You will learn to conquer fear

When you learn to act in spite of your fears, you learn courage. Try going up to someone you feel intimidated by and introduce yourself to them. What’s the worse that can happen? You might feel embarrassed for something you say. But did the world end? No, life will go on. It’s more likely that the interaction is more positive than you ever imagined. Most importantly, you learn to act and reach out to people even when you are afraid. You will gain an advantage over others by creating more opportunities to form relationships with potentially influential people.

2. You will learn that everyone is human

We can’t help but put the people we admire on pedestals. We treat them in such a way that we forget that they are human beings like the rest of us. They too may even have fears and times in their lives when they felt intimidated. Remembering our common human connection can be a powerful reminder that the person we feel intimidated by may be yearning to be treated like a normal human being, not a superhuman.

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3. You will learn that everyone has a story

When you learn to engage people you feel you have nothing in common with, you might be surprised to learn that their life story is similar in some ways to yours. How can you learn their story? Just ask. People love to talk about themselves when given the opportunity. Dale Carnegie, in his book “How To Win Friends and Influence People,” says “Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.” You may learn the story of how they came to be thought of as “intimidating.” You may even learn that they fall short in something that you have mastered. Learning their story will reduce feelings of inadequacy in their presence and improve your self esteem. If you truly listen to their story with interest, you will also win their admiration and respect.

4. You will learn new skills from them

People who excel often have acquired wisdom that we can all benefit from. Also, we tend to imitate the people we admire. If you want to learn how to “work a room”, spend time with a charismatic person. Learn what makes them attractive to others. It could be their warm smile, their positive attitude, or the captivating stories they tell. Ask them about what motivates them to stay positive when most people are not. You may learn some powerful insights that you can apply and benefit from in your own life.

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5. You will learn how to increase your confidence in dealing with people

The more you spend time with people that intimidate you, the more you will gain confidence in your ability to navigate personal interactions and relationships. You will learn how to approach and talk to all kinds of people. Indeed, if you can gain friendships with people that intimidate you, you can gain friendships with almost anyone. This will put you on a path of personal growth and personal and professional success.

So, what are you waiting for? Go hang out with that intimidating person in your life today.

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Featured photo credit: SEVENHEADS via pixabay.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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