Be Genuine. Unless, of course, you are an jerk. Then be someone else.

We have all heard the admonition: "Be genuine." And we have heard, "Be who you are." But I am here to tell you that it's okay to be who you  are, unless you are a jerk. Then, be someone else, please.

We all know people who are genuine. And they are prima donnas. Some are defensive. And then there are the ones who are sociopaths.  These are the people we wish would be a little less genuine; and just for the record, be someone else. Please.

A client said to me a while ago, and I still believe it holds true today, it's easier to do business with someone you like than it isn't. In fact, clients (note this is plural) have told me in my interviews with them, they avoid doing any kind of business with people they don't like, if at all possible. They said they will take a technically inferior solution over having to deal with a jerk for the long haul.

Why is this?

Honesty--We Think We Are

The answer is: it's too hard to deal with some people. Certain people are so negative. And they justify their negative point of view with: "I'm just being honest." Let's face another fact: A little less honesty please.

Honesty is often in the eyes of the beholder. Of course I am not talking about lying or cheating or stealing. I am talking about the honesty that is colored by our own lens of the world. We tend to judge other people's motives and ideals based on their color, religion, political party, and where they went to school.

Too Much of the Wrong Type of Judgment

And please don't tell me you don't judge others, because if I told you, "He went to Harvard," your immediate reaction would probably be one or more of these: He must be smart. He had money. He couldn't get into MIT.  (that last one is a joke so lighten up people)

Of course if you really truly don't have an opinion about this, then I am happy to see that the Dalai Lama has decided to read this post. Thank you Mr. Lama.

Be Nice

So let's stop kidding ourselves. Don't be genuine. Instead be nice, and be smart. But please be nice. No more backroom engineering how the world should revolve around me. No more subterranean thinking of how can I score a point and look good or make someone look stupid in the next meeting.

Be genuinely nice. Pass the credit to others. Be able to say, "That was Mary's idea. I liked it so much I am now using it like it's mine. But truly, it's Mary's."

In addition, be able to say, "I don't know" when you really don't know. Be certain and feel proud, that you truly don't freakin' know. Be certain of your  uncertainty; because in reality we really don't know how things will turn out; and there is too much to know about everything. So get with the "I don't know" program.

Of course, I am not saying become a doormat. Nice doesn't mean not looking out for yourself, but it does mean not looking out for yourself too much, especially when your pride comes into play.

Do, however, be certain of this certainty: clients will buy from people who are nice, considerate, smart, savvy, and who are competent. Remember, confidence before competence, is pretense. I read that somewhere. And since I am truly being honest, I am uncertain what it means. But I do get the gist of it.

We Are All Someone Else's Asshole

Last. a note of caution.  A successful financial advisor once told a group of us, "We are all someone's asshole." That left me thinking. I hope this give you a place to pause and think.

PS - an addition here: "Confidence before competence, is pretense," I believe came from Stephen Covey out of his Principle-Centered Leadership book. I have to look it up, because I did Google it, and I came up with nothing. If I find he didn't say it, maybe I can take credit for it. Nah. Someone else said this; I am not as smart as I think I am. I'm just being honest, because I did not go to Harvard (or MIT).


Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner