Putting your best foot forward.
In life, we are presented with thousands of opportunities. Some of these opportunities could be landing an interview for your dream job, getting accepted into university or an opportunity for your own start-up. Hey, it could be meeting the man of you dreams! Whatever it may be, life is full of wonderful opportunities, and sometimes it is really up to us and individuals to take life by the hands and just go for it!
This all sounds too easy, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, not all of us are blessed with supermodel genetics, family fortune, royal blood or celebrity status and we have to work incredibly hard to create opportunities for ourselves. Further to this point, as human beings we can become overwhelmed, uncomfortable and once nerves kick in, we can totally blow it. I remember being a 19 year old university student and going for an interview at a large recruitment agency. I was asked to do a role play exercise and pretend to pitch a candidate to a client. I was so nervous, I was shaking, I was stuttering. Let’s just save myself any further humiliation and get to the point here- I totally BLEW it!! The funny thing is, I look back now and think I didn’t even really want the job, why was I so nervous?!
Putting your best foot forward is an important, yet under-rated life skill. Putting your best foot forward means presenting yourself in the best possible light. It means making a great first (and lasting) impression. So how does one make a positive, yet lasting impression? You can start by…
Like a mentioned earlier, not everyone is born to be the next Victoria’s Secret Angel, however we can certainly put some effort into a daily morning rituals and maintain a high standard of personal presentation. After all, you never know who you are going to bump into! I once heard the saying “Dress like you are going to bump into your ex.” If this is what motivates you to put that extra effort in the morning, go for it! Even on my laziest day, I will still show up to work with a full face of makeup and my hair slicked back into a ponytail. What if today is the day you have an important meeting, presentation or interview sprung onto you, or you meet the man of your dreams at your local cafe? I don’t know about you, but I would certainly be wanting to look my best.
Most people want to be heard however do not have the patience to really listen when others are speaking. When I was studying to become a psychologist, I learnt that listening is just as, if not more important than talking, especially when you want a positive outcome. If you allow the other person to speak first and give them more ‘air-time,’ the better conversationalist you will become. I have often heard the saying “The smartest person in the room is also the quietest person in the room” and it could not be more true. Listen, observe and when you do contribute, make it something worthwhile and meaningful.
There is something so appealing and attractive about confidence- whether it is inner confidence or confidence you see in others. Confidence is often attributed to success, so the saying goes “fake it till you make it.” From personal experience, confidence is developed over time and is something that comes with life experience. Much like learning to ride a bike or drive a car, confidence comes with practice and exposing yourself to things which may initially be out of your comfort zone. The more get used to presenting to a crowd, speaking with executives or networking at social events, the more natural it will feel.
There is something to be said about those who are willing to go above and beyond. Whether it is at work or in your personal life, putting in the extra mile will certainly get you noticed and stand out from your counterparts. If there are two equally qualified and performing peers however only one is willing to go the extra mile, who do you think will be considered when it comes time to give out a promotion? It is a real skill to be able to pre-empt the needs of those around you, and to deliver before they have even had the chance to ask.
Etiquette refers to dignity and having a sense of what is appropriate within certain situations. The way you behave and act at a night club is certainly not the way to behave at your workplace. Learning when to be serious and when it is ok to have a laugh are equally as important. Furthermore, basic etiquette such as eye contact, shaking hands firmly, sitting in a dignified manner and knowing when and how to behave appropriately should be a given, particularly when trying to make a positive impression.
We may not all be privileged and born with a silver spoon, however we are all presented with certain opportunities and it is up to you as the individual to shine from the crowd! By keeping these basic principles in mind, you will be able to make a positive, lasting impression and always put your best foot forward, whatever the circumstances may be!
Do you have any other tips on putting your best foot forward? Leave your comments below!