As our business culture continues to change and become less and less people-focused with the use of the internet and cell phones, face-to-face interactions are becoming increasingly pivotal to our success. However, if we aren't sufficiently prepared and equipped, our chances of thriving in a room full of Sharks are severely compromised. Do you think you have what it takes to keep from being their chum? Today I will show you how to become the Shark in every room you enter.
To understand how to defeat a Shark, we have to understand what makes us fail in their presence. There are primarily two reasons.
The first mistake is the most common. This happens when we try and overpower or make ourselves more significant than the other Sharks by talking louder, talking over, or employing any maneuver that publicly tries to shame or humiliate the other Sharks. Ask yourself a question, "Who is my best friend, and more importantly, why?" The simple answer is that their actions showed you they were solid, reliable, and we feel a sense of safety, of being known. As a result, we all instinctively pull away and become guarded around anyone who makes it all about them. The consequence of making it all about ourselves is that the brightest Shark now knows we're the weakest! The one trying to be the biggest is synonymous with the schoolyard bully. While the bully was scary when we were younger, as adults, we all know that it only takes the smallest of pricks to pop their balloons.
The other most common mistake is feeling insecure. How often have you found yourself questioning whether you even belong? This is common for us all, and when we are stuck in this shameful state, the resulting internal thoughts and questions are so negative we become certain every Shark can see right through us. These thoughts and feelings lead us to avoid direct contact, put off communications, meetings, sharing information, or anything that we think might expose ourselves to being found out. We are convinced she will know we are a fraud, so we decide, "what's the point? Why should I even try? I can't ever be like her!" Or the most common phrase I hear from even my most successful clients, "I feel like I don't deserve it!"
To overcome being the chum in the water for other Sharks requires Emotional Mastery. Here is 5 step process that you can start to employ on your journey to gain it.
Step 1 takes place before we even enter the room. The adage holds for a reason, It's TRUE! We become whom we associate with. If you can't find quality people around you, then you need to borrow some. Find a Shark you want to emulate or find an expert to teach you how to overcome your feelings of insecurity. The internet is a great place to start. Sharks like Warren Buffet, Mark Cuban, Tony Robbins, Oprah…the list is endless. There are thousands of Sharks prowling the waters of the internet. Consume everything they say and do, watch them, become them in your version. If you have a weakness in a specific area, hire an expert to teach you. Studies show visual learning or modeling of others is the quickest way to learn a new skill. Learn by sitting across from the skill you want to become.
The next step is both subtle and cunning. The most important thing we can do upon entering a room of Sharks to disarm them has to do with our physicality. Only 7% of all communication is verbal, more than 50% is done with our bodies. If we don't know how to walk, stand or project ourselves, too "Be" and feel our body, every Shark in the room will instinctively take bites out of us as we walk past. They will feel our insecurity. We can lock their jaws simply by the way we enter the room. Once there, settle into a group or even a single Shark and further your disarming by mirroring and matching their body language, tone and dialect so you can silently and instantly gain rapport. After a few minutes of following their lead, initiate a subtle physical movement or dialect change and see if they follow. If they follow, you have them completely disarmed, and like a snake charmer, you can begin extracting their venom without their realizing it.
Step three swims in unison with the previous two. While we are mirroring and matching, If we feel negative about ourselves, our self-talk will be negative, and they will feel it. You see, our amygdala is specifically designed to sense fear subconsciously even before we ever register it consciously. We have all had the experience of walking past a stranger and just feeling something was "off." That is precisely the message you will be sending the other Shark if you don't make Emotional Mastery the cornerstone of your preparation.
Now that we have raised your standards, our presence is commanding, and our feelings are clear, you are ready to circle your prey once again. This next circling is done when we learn how to listen correctly. It starts with the realization that if we're the ones talking, we're also the ones bleeding! He who speaks the least bleeds the least!
Remember, only 7% of all communication is verbal, but if we listen carefully, that 7% can tell us almost everything we need to know. Here is the trick to understanding words. Nearly every word we choose is chosen to communicate an emotion, a feeling but since most of us were raised to avoid emotions, we don't know this. Think back to your last business conversation. Even as they discussed their sales process, buying process, decision-making process…whatever process it was, how many times did they pick a word that communicated a feeling? If you replay the conversation, you will see it was countless times because, as humans, nearly every thought is started by a feeling, which gets intellectualized by thoughts, and from those thoughts, we choose an action. We relate to this constant loop of feeling, then thought, then action.
One of the most straightforward examples to demonstrate this is the Shark, who says, "I never let emotions get in the way of business." Wow, he just completely exposed his flank to you. Look at the words he chose. "Get in the way." He just told you that he sees his emotions as a roadblock. Our single greatest asset in the decision-making process he feels afraid of, so he avoids the construction zone. But, in a pressure situation, he just told you that because he has no mastery of his emotions, his emotions WILL get the best of him, and he will only be able to arrive at a few limited answers. Is that someone you want to partner or do business with? By being in touch with your own emotions and knowing how to listen correctly, you have just witnessed a Shark gut themselves for you.
Now that the water is nearly crimson, we move on to the final step. As a general rule, Sharks are inherently self-focused. These traits are often born out of a tremendous sense of inadequacy, a feeling of not being good enough, and a fear of letting anyone find that out. That is not a criticism but a reality born out of the human condition. We have all experienced tremendous pain in our lives. Therefore narcissistic traits become a natural survival/coping skill to protect us from the devastating effects and feelings of that pain. I know because I struggled with this myself. The resulting shame, anger, fear, and denial become excellent short-term motivators and create a tremendous drive to quench our thirst for the relevance we did not get as children. But like the rocket boosters on the space shuttle, shame, anger, fear, and denial are a limited fuel source, and eventually, they burn out, and everything comes crashing back to earth!
Those unhealed feelings are the single reason our lives are where they are today. See, every one of us chooses our spouse, career, hobbies…everything we do to reconcile an emotion that we haven't yet reconciled from our childhood. Ever notice how we all pick the same "type' of a partner who reminds us of the powerlessness of our youth? How about situations in business? Our deals, coworkers, partners, and adversaries trigger the same frustrations as our childhood? All of those directly result from our subconscious screaming at us to reconcile a trauma we experienced and have yet to gain emotional Mastery over. Until we face and deal with those hurts, we will set our lives up in a way that forces us to relive them. Sadly, most of us never address them because we were told things like, "don't show your emotions, don't have them, and by God, don't you dare talk about them." So ultimately, if we want to be "The Shark" and set ourselves apart, the answer lies in our ability to face and overcome the painful feelings from our past.
So how do we do that?
We begin by asking ourselves questions about every action we take. Questions like:
What did I feel when I made that choice?
When was the first time I felt this?
How does this current feeling mirror the powerlessness, frustration, abandonment...just like the first time I experienced it?
How is that affecting my ability to perform and make the right decisions in my business?
How much more will it cost me if I continue to deny, suppress, justify, minimize, and ignore healing this painful feeling from my past?
If I continue to put off gaining Emotional Mastery over it for another month, six months, 12 months? Am I willing to pay that cost?"
These types of thought-provoking questions allow us to gain tremendous clarity into exactly how the unhealed emotions from the past impact every decision we make in every area of our lives.
They force us to make a choice. Are we ready to do what it takes to become the Shark we know we are capable of being?
New studies show that 90% of all top performers score high on emotional intelligence. Emotional Mastery is the "It Factor" only a top Shark will possess. If we have Emotional Mastery, others will FEEL our power as we swim past.
All corny metaphors aside, If you are looking for more information on how I can help you achieve more success personally and professionally, it can be found at:
Kenny Weiss Newsletter
Join the newsletter to receive the latest updates in your inbox.