Dan Waldschmidt

by Dan Waldschmidt

March 18, 2013

You Don’t Get A Third Chance At Second Impressions.

Most of what you hear about sales success and business growth is about making good first impressions. That’s not always how it’s presented, but that’s essentially the core of most tactics.  Make it look like you know what you’re doing until you figure it out for yourself  — “fake it until you make it”.

  • You’re told to design marketing that has more pictures (and “pop”) than follow-through and support.
  • You’re told that the only thing that matters is getting the deal.  That you can figure out everything later.
  • You’re told to be careful what you put on social media so that others get the right impression of you.

And so you work really hard to make sure people think that you’re OK when you’re really not.  You pretend to be fine when you’re really sick with worry, confused about your options, and unsure that what you’re doing is the best thing for the people you’re making big promises to.

It’s why you keep failing (in spite of doing what you’re told).

First impressions do matter.  You make the same “snap judgments” that everyone else makes.  If someone else looks sloppy, lazy, slow, or stupid, then you just assume that is what they really are.  You probably don’t bother to invest in a relationship where you might find out something differently.

So there is a lot of obvious pressure on you to “appear” like you have it all together.  You know that you need people to take a deeper look.  And they won’t if you don’t look desirable.

But you don’t look all the desirable two or three or four moves down the road when you can’t deliver the “put togetherness” that you sold to get in front of that potential client in the first place.

And now you’ve made things a lot worse for everyone.

Instead of people passing you by with disinterest, you’ve made them feel cheated, scammed, and stupid. They thought you were different.  And you weren’t.  And so once they stop feeling stupid, they get angry and want revenge.

And that’s where your life get’s a whole lot more difficult.  Because instead of selling a dream, you’re running for your life.  You’re putting out fires and trying to protect what little you have left to a good reputation.

All because you though the first impression was the only thing that mattered.

You don’t need to act that way.

  • You’re not perfect, so stop pretending to be.
  • You get it wrong sometimes, so stop pretending you don’t.
  • You’re not always the best, so stop pretending to be.
  • You make mistakes, so stop pretending like you don’t.

You’re not a con man, so stop acting like one.

Stop shape-shifting to fit what you think other people want you to be.  You’re you.  Act like you. And if that “you” isn’t awesome, then work tirelessly to change that.

But don’t waste your time on the outside when the inside is rotten to the core.

Fight.  Cry when it hurts.  Lead even though you’re crying. Keep moving towards where you want to be.

Not everyone will be dazzled by your first impression.  But your second one (and third and fourth and fifth) will be something they can count on when they finally figure out that you need you after all.

About the author

Dan Waldschmidt

Dan Waldschmidt doesn’t just talk about leveling up. He’s obsessed with it. He's set records as an ultra-runner and been the personal strategist for the leading business leaders of our time. He wrote a book, called EDGY Conversations that accidentally became a worldwide bestseller and continues to share his insights from the stage as a keynote speaker and on the blogs and podcasts you will find here. Most days, you'll find Dan heads-down, working on breakthrough strategies for his clients at EDGY Inc, a highly-focused, invite-only, business strategy execution company based out of Silicon Valley.