That Super Clean First Impression

It’s interesting to me how people choose to present themselves to others the first time they meet. Some people are highly conscious of their demeanor, facial expressions, tone of voice and think about each word they say.  Others just kind of roll with whatever happens in the moment.  Then there are those who fall somewhere in between that spectrums of polar differences.

This all came back to mind for me recently during a conversation I was having with someone I met for the first time at the gym. It was a pleasant enough little chat at the outset about the gym, training and the like… and then less than 5 minutes into the conversation… this person tells me their powerlifting total.

For those of you who are not powerlifting aficionados (shame upon you and your houses, heathen!), a total is the total amount of weight you lift in a competition, comprised of your best weight for the squat, bench press and deadlift.  Simple enough to understand and calculate.  It’s not a weird thing at all.

However… it’s pretty weird to flash that number to me within 5 minutes of meeting you.  For one, it implies I should care about how much you lift (I don’t).  Second, it also suggests I should be impressed by it (I may find the number impressive, but please see point #1 again).

This is to the lifting world what:

  • in the business world would be meeting someone in your company for the first time and they go out of their way to tell you their grade level or how high they fit in the organizational structure;
  • in the golf world, someone telling you their handicap right after meeting; and
  • in just real life, introducing yourself to your new neighbors and immediately telling them how your kids are on honor roll or are all-state or have perfect dental hygiene with no cavities and dentists across the land singing unto the heavens the marvels of their molars.

It’s mystifying.  It’s why my Facebook status a few days ago was simply this:

Quick meathead life lesson: If within a mere 5 minutes of our meeting for the first time, you tell me your total… we’re really not off to a great start.

If you have good things going in your life? Awesome. I am genuinely happy for you and hope they continue and flourish. The world needs more positive mojo rocking out these days anyway.

Why anyone then feels the need to make that part of their introduction is where it all gets 9 kinds of funky. You don’t need to knock people back on their heels with all the awesome (or just allegedly awesome) things in your life right out of the gate… in fact, please don’t.

The truly awesome things just become apparent on their own without them being forcefully driven into the conversation like a really awkward handshake… the kind where the person holds your hand a little TOO long and a little TOO firmly and shakes your arm a little TOO vigorously.

Who you are is what impresses people, in the end… not what you do.

And who I am is one handsome SOB. Clearly.

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