It was Maya Angelou who said ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ What a powerful statement. We may have the brightest of brains, an innovative idea, a message worth sharing. But it could all be lost, depending on how we choose to present ourselves to others. At Milaana, we know young people can cultivate an attitude that will impact on all areas of their lives. After all, how we present ourselves to our friends, lovers, colleagues, workers, acquaintances and strangers, it all matters. We believe your presence is needed in this world and how you behave and how you make others feel, can empower and elevate not only yourself but those around you.
Yours words have power.
Your actions have power.
So, how are others experiencing YOU?
You are responsible for how you present yourself.
I am responsible for how I present myself
Just like you, I am a very thoughtful, caring person and I would hope my dealings with others reflect that. However, just like you, I say and do things at times that are neither thoughtful nor caring. Perhaps we were overly aggressive with our opinions. We wanted that person to believe what we believe. We made remarks that undermined the other person. We did not listen. We may not have even known we were doing it. We were too invested in our message that we forgot. Perhaps an enlightened spiritual master would understand our message despite how poorly executed. There would be no judgement. But considering most of us are not spiritual masters (just yet…) we often make meaning from how others present themselves to us. There has been times where we have all behaved poorly, our message was not received the way it was intended and we did ourselves and those around us no favours. Examine your behaviour objectively and ask yourself:
‘How would other people experience what I did?’
‘How would other people experience what I said?’
This can be difficult. We spend so much time analysing how others treat us and we get angry or upset at how that made us feel. When we question our self, it alerts us to our behaviour and urges us to change. Change may be exactly what we need! So it is we affirm:
‘I recognise my behaviour was aggressive, I am willing to change’
‘I recognise I didn’t listen to that person, I am willing to change’
Check in with yourself each night reflect on the events of the day. Write it down:
Question 1. How did I experience myself today?
Question 2. How did others experience me today?
You will find that if your experience with yourself was positive and loving, your experience with others was also, positive and loving. Atone for the negative experience: ‘I recognise I presented myself in a way that did not serve me or others, I am willing to change’ Recognise the positive experiences: I recognise my behaviour was attentive and caring, it was my true self and it felt good. I will continue to present myself that way’
This practice is not about dwelling on your imperfections or trying to be a persistent “people pleaser”. This is recognising your words and actions have power. By taking responsibility for yourself, forgiving yourself and making amends, your power is amplified and your positive influence expands.
This practice can influence your career. Let’s get specific on feelings.
Q. How do you want your peers to feel?
Encouraged? Valued? You may work with them in the future and no doubt they will remember how you made them feel.
Q. How do you make your potential employer feel?
Inspired by you? Energised? Excited to pass along their wisdom?
Already a leader?
Q. How do you want your volunteers or employees to feel?
Q. How do you want your client to feel?
Confident? Curious? Amazed?!