Before my current position at my current employer, I was the 12 employee hired at a small wellness company. When the company sold, we were 80 employee strong. The CEO of the company was one of the most amazing minds I have ever had the pleasure to work for. Each and every day, no matter if it was the days of 12 employees or 80, he walked around the office – every single day – and said good morning to each and every single one of his employees. What CEO, even at a small company, does that? The great ones.
He also was a big happy hour on friday guy. One happy hour. he revealed one of the most influential conversations to me that altered the way I see the world.
He said that life is like high school. In high school, we start to see society develop because people develop. We start to find ourselves, develop our likes, opinions, open-mindedness and close-mindedness. And those habits we develop there stick with us the rest of our lives. Nerds stay nerds, and probably make the most money. The most outgoing people usually go into some sort of sales/marketing/PR field. Jocks try to play sports, then usually doing something that takes brawns, like construction. Varsity players usually go into some management position as they know how to run a team. It was an amazing conversation and when I take a step back and look at the life around me, this conversation holds true more and more.
His concept behind the story was if we think back to high school, then approach the people in our lives around the high school cliques, you can create rapport and better manage the people around because you know how they think and work.
That’s a bomb isn’t it? That is how I felt when he was telling me this.
Now, that information there was enough of a mind blowing post to leave it at that, but I am not done…
I recently gave a presentation to a group of 20 people. The auditorium that we were in was empty when I started setting up, and one by one, people started trickling in. Some sat in the middle, some in the back, and some in the front.
Think about your high school days and who sat where. The back row people were the trouble makers, slackers, and those that really didn’t want to be there. The middle row people where the average people, your typical average Joe, interested, but knew he could be doing better things. These people don’t really want to mess up their status quo they have. And then there was the front row people, that sat on the edge of their seat taking in information, asking questions, getting everything they possibly could about subject.
My presentation, 10 years after high school, had that same concept. None of the back row people asked any questions. They were on their phone, laptops, tablets, eating snacks and chit chatting with each other. The middle row asked a few questions, mostly around how much more work this will be, and how it will effect them specifically so I don’t disrupt their status quo they have currently. Then there were 2 front row guys. They slammed me with engaging questions, industry trends and overall conversational piece that I absolutely love to talk about.
High school, business presentation – it’s all the same.
There are 2 ways you can use this information.
One way is to understand this fact. When you talk to someone, or give a presentation, or just go about your daily life, think about this high school concept. Think about who they are, and adjust your conversation around that topic and you will be able to relate with them in a deeper manner.
SIT IN THE FRONT ROW OF LIFE
Back row doesn’t care. If you sit in the back row of life, you aren’t paying attention. You aren’t trying. You aren’t even acting like you are trying. YOu just do what you do. You really don’t care about anything else but what is going on in facebook. You don’t focus on anything else but yourself.
Middle row is the worst place to be at. You don’t want to get out of your comfort zone. Middle row is your safe zone. You know you are better than that back row, but don’t want to put in the effort for the front row. You want to cruise through life, doing the same thing over and over and over and over and making sure that nothing interferes with your status quo. You don’t like change. You don’t like trying something new. You want to be sure that everything you do keeps you in your safe bubble.
Front row is engaged. They are excited about what they are doing, and it doesn’t even matter what they are doing. They ask questions, they push themselves. They know the front row gets the information first and they can process it faster and better than those in the middle and the back. They push themselves to be better every single day. They crave being uncomfortable because it makes them stronger and raises their status quo, not keep it the same.
It doesn’t matter where you are at in your life, what you are doing, where you work, what you are trying to accomplish, be a front row type person. Get engaged, push yourself, learn, grow, ask, do. Whether you are a millionaire or trying to get back pay check to pay check. If you are 55 working on a GED or 24 working on your PhD. If you are a customer service rep or entrepreneur trying to launch a company. Fortune 50 CEO or small business CEO. Elite althete or overweight father trying to be there for their kids.
No matter where you are at in life, sit in the front row.
To your success,