Every few months or so, I am reminded of something I observed many years ago while a business colleague and I met for a cocktail after work in Philadelphia. Tony and I decided on a bar near his office to enjoy a good chat.
About 10 p.m. or so, I observed this attractive and confident-looking lady in her mid-20s arrive at the bar by herself. Finding it unusual that she was alone, I mentioned it to Tony. He said, ďShe is a pretty girl to be on her own. Something must be up!Ē
Unbeknownst to me, this bar doubled as a discotheque, and we observed the place gain more energy around 11 p.m. Before long the pretty girl was having a conversation with a man, and her dance night began.
For the next 90 minutes, different men asked her to dance, and she obliged. From what I could tell, she didnít take any breaks, and she wasnít drinking. She was there only to dance.
Around midnight, Tony and I decided to leave the bar. Interestingly, the pretty girl also called it quits around that time. She made her way to the exit, and departed alone.
Iíve told this story several times to my friends because I was surprised to see a confident young lady walk into a place alone. It was obvious she didnít know anyone. In fact, she might have been from outside Philly. Iím not sure.
Even though she didnít have an acquaintance, she had a mission. She was a good dancer, and thatís all that mattered to her. Heck, even if she lacked dancing skills, her beauty would make up for it.
There are times when I am nervous about doing something different. Iím in my comfort zone, and I donít want to get out of it. I might be asked to present a challenging topic to stakeholders who I know will challenge me. Instead of thinking of an excuse, I recall the brave young lady who confidently walked into the bar and held her own.
We need to focus on where we have a competitive edge. We all have a competitive skill, and we should exploit it. In some cases, we need to make that skill better, such as public speaking or leading projects. Itís imperative that we do the back-end work to perfect our core abilities.
The young lady was an excellent dancer, and she commanded attention. Tony and I could tell that she was in her zone. She was not new to this environment. Even then, though, for her to walk into an establishment full of strangers was impressive. She focused on her competitive advantage, which was dancing.
I suppose someday I might develop a sales training course, and I know the perfect example to use as an icebreaker:
ďHello, Everyone! I know every one of you wants to be the best salesperson in this company. I have the secret for you, and I want to share it with you. This story is true, and if you apply what Iím about to tell you, success is inevitable. Many years ago, Tony and I were having a drink in a Philly bar, and we noticed this attractive young lady walk in ÖĒ
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Dr. Jimmie Flores,PhD,PMP,ITIL,SSBB,SPHR,GPHR is a seasoned organizational development and continuous improvement professional with 20 years of experience. In 2006, he founded the Flores Consulting Group, a company based in San Antonio, TX. Dr. Flores is also an expert in project management, ITIL, Six Sigma, Entrepreneurship, and Sports Officiating. Please visit our website at www.jmbok.com
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