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Inspiration – Express – Don’t Impress

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Today’s quote comes from E James Rohn, who says “Learn to express rather than impress.  Expressing evokes a ‘me too’ attitude while impressing evokes a ‘so what’ attitude.”

Well this is one that I am very definitely guilty of!  In fact, my usual statement is “and that is my problem – how?” or “tell someone who cares?” and quite frankly at that point in time, that is exactly how it is.  It is not an attitude but rather an opinion.

I guess when you get to my age (now there’s a new one for the books, I never thought that I would say something like that!), you’ve kind of earned your stripes, your bumps and your bruises and there is no longer a need to ‘impress’.  Things just are what they are and for me ‘it just is what it is’.

I often see what happens with the youngsters, who still feel the need to impress and was quietly amused the other day whilst conducting my workshop with a young man (let’s call him Joe) from Cape Town. I conduct a workshop called “A Basic Practical Guide to Starting a Business”. It was a ‘one on one’ kind of training that had been requested and paid for by one of my colleagues who has just started to Franchise his business, and who having been around the block a few times, wanted to make the start up of the business as painless as possible.

As Joe sat down and we started getting into the whole exercise, Joe told me very ‘clearly’ that he had no use for my workshop as he had ‘started several businesses in his lifetime and knows what he is doing!’.  As he rambled on about how many businesses he had opened and run.  I wondered why he was actually sitting in front of me.  When I asked what it was that he actually did, he told me that both he and his wife were working for an employer and it was then that I realized that he had no clue about what he was doing – all of his so called businesses had failed and he was forced to go back to the world of being an employee.  His ego was definitely bruised, and in my opinion would continue to get bruised as he clearly hasn’t learnt the lesson.

My dilemma was therefore one of “do I tell him or don’t I?”  Well, I opted not to tell him.  You see Joe had ‘no use’ for anything that I had to tell him, because he ‘knew everything’ and he was so busy telling me how wonderful he was and how clever he was, that nothing I said would have made any difference at all.  He was very clearly in “impress’ mode.

His workshop was purchased and paid for by someone else though and as I continued my way through it, he interrupted several times, not to ask questions or get clarity, but to tell me how he had handled situations that were similar to the ones that I had raised.  In many of these instances, had he reacted as he said he had, he would have been in trouble with SARS or the Department of Labour.  As I pointed this out – he merely laughed and shrugged his shoulders, clearly very pleased with himself and how clever he had been.  The problem however, is that it was clear to me that as a direct result of his ‘cleverness’ he had lost all of his businesses – the lesson though was clearly ‘lost’ on him.  You see he was in ‘impress’ mode and by this time the only person he was impressing was himself.

Joe, in my opinion, will continue his life in “impress” mode, as that is his mindset – he has not learnt to express himself and at this point, I doubt that he ever will because of his need to impress, at all costs.

Joe, in my opinion, will close the doors to this new business opportunity too, and it will be everyone’s fault but his.  Until Joe realizes and understands that his mindset needs to change, that he cannot know everything that he thinks he knows and that he too needs guidance and help from time to time, he will never be successful at anything.  Until Joe has recognizes the fact that he is full of insecurities that need to be dealt with and that he is not so different from the rest of us – he will not move forward in the journey of life.

Joe, will probably never say ‘me too’ to anything in life – he is too hell bent on ‘impressing’.

Is your name also Joe?