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Friday, February 22, 2013

Mindfulness and Chutzpah: Notes from the Field

I’m at some professional meetings for my wife, trying to help her by shmoozing and charming her friends, colleagues, and potential supporters.

At breakfast a man who sits next to me strikes up conversation and turns out to be an elder statesman of my wife’s world, a man eminently worth shmoozing.

The prescription?

  • Expand my footprint with Big Body Language, lean towards him, take up space.
  • Dare To Fawn, by telling him how great his taste in food is, how the organization is not the same without his leadership.  These are all true, so easier to fawn about.

What happened instead?

I essentially… blanked out.  I stammered out some stuff about the food, and fairly quickly made an excuse about having to do some work and fled the scene.

Once I got a safe distance away I realized what had happened: I had failed to Be Aware of My Fears.  Failed without even the opportunity to recognize what was going on.  I was thrown into a state where the only thing I could think about clearly was getting away.

So mindfulness has to precede chutzpah.  I have to let myself be aware that a Chutzpah Opportunity is being short-circuited by fear and consciously put a stop to it.

Do-able, I guess, but mindfulness is never easy.