Attaching ourselves to the outcome makes things more difficult. It is not good or bad.
Experience vs result. If you had to pick between experiencing these without ever knowing the result (like above). Or only knowing the result without having the experience, which would you choose? This can even be asked about watching the experience, like in a movie.
Most people I speak with seem to value the experience of it more.
We truly don’t know if the result (outcome) is even good or bad long term.
For example: A rejection for a raise could very well lead you to leaving that company for a better company where you end up learning unique skills that enables you to start an innovative startup.
Or an approach of a stranger could lead to a phone number, but then to a 5 year romantic relationship that ends horribly and you "wasted" 5 years.
These can switch back and forth to what we perceive as good or bad.
For instance, after that horrible 5 year relationship that person finds a soulmate in their ex’s coworker that they never would have met without that bad relationship which leads them to live happily ever after.
My point is a great outcome from an interaction doesn’t mean that it’s good long term and a bad outcome (getting rejected) may have saved you long term from a shitty situation.
Don’t worry too much about the outcome. That worry can enhance and put fuel on the fire on our natural anxiety, especially in those big moments. Then it becomes much more difficult to do in the first place.
I’m not saying to go to the extreme in always being wary about a good reaction and being relieved when something doesn’t move forward socially! But it could make socializing more easy if you can mitigate some of the emotions that are stopping you by using this outlook. Bad isn’t bad and good isn’t good, be open like a good scientist.
Social skills are learnable and you can get really good at them, as we have learned here at Jaunty, but the skills are there so you can enjoy and learn from the experience with other people. -Eric Waisman
By Alex De Carvalho, Jaunty Grad
When I heard about Jaunty, I thought: “Social intelligence? This is not for me, I don’t need this, I’m from France, it’s in my blood”. After all, I had never had any problems making new friends or getting dates wherever I lived (France, Spain, Portugal, the U.S.). I was extraverted and knew all about being social. Furthermore, professionally speaking, I had been very successful per our society’s definition as I had climbed the corporate ladder quite fast. I had directed teams and complex work with numerous prestigious Fortune 500 companies and provided business advisory to senior executives across the globe. I had also had gone to many presentations and corporate sales trainings that had talked about social intelligence to some degree. So, would you agree that I did not need any class on social intelligence skills? Well, on the contrary!
You see, despite all of this, I had reached a point in my life where I felt completely lost. I had recently moved from Minneapolis to San Francisco, and shortly after, lost my corporate job as being remote was not a long-term option for my employer. At that point, I felt like an outcast, like I did not fit as everything in SF was so tech-oriented and I had zero background or expertise in this field. I could not find another job and felt it was because my corporate background was not valued here. I thought that because I was not in tech, the tech world was rejecting me.
But the truth was that I did not know what to do next with my life anyway and was finding it very hard to connect with people for friendship or business. It’s like I had completely “lost” my social intelligence skills that had helped me be so successful my whole life. I’ll admit that at that moment, I had lost confidence in myself, in my abilities and got quite depressed. I did not recognize myself and was having probably what society would call a midlife crisis.
This is when I heard about Jaunty’s social intelligence class. After overcoming some initial cultural reluctance, I decided to sign up. And can I tell you something? It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
I started to gain back confidence and assertiveness with the first crazy homework. I had to ask complete strangers (people I had never talked to): “What do you think about me?” As you can imagine, I got quite nervous at first. People were going to think that I was crazy, needed to be medicated and put in a straitjacket. Then, I got excited because I had never done this before. To my surprise, the answers I got (e.g. confident, driven, loves fashion) helped me realize that I was just creating and projecting fears and thoughts that were not real. It was all in my mind! After this exercise came the theory in class around frames (my frame/reality versus other’s people’s frame). It all made so much sense!
When I look retrospectively, I got so much more out of this class than what was written on paper. First, I met some truly unique and special people that I’m now honored to call friends (and yes, some are in tech!). Second, there is truly a Jaunty “alumni spirit” that made me feel part of a community of people from all walks of life. They all came to take this training because, like me, they struggled at some point with social anxiety or self-worth for various reasons. Third, I did recover my social intelligence skills through various simple and effective frameworks and tools that were taught during the class.
I recently went on my own to an important business networking event where I did not know anybody. At first, my inner gremlin voice came up. But I was able to shut it down through 1) replacement thoughts and 2) by applying some of Jaunty’s framework. The result? I’m currently working on projects with three people I met at the event.
And most importantly, Jaunty was a lot about personal development if you were open to widening your perspective and see the bigger scheme of things. It really helped me re-wire my brain and shift my mindset by tearing down limiting (self)-beliefs and barriers that I had created. My key learning from all of this? Possibilities are limitless in this life! Anything is truly possible as we individually are the creators of our own path. And social intelligence is one of the most powerful skills to help just do that. Who would not want this?
With many on-going life projects (such as writing a book, building my company), I now look ahead with strong confidence, self-belief and a re-ignited fire. No matter where I go or what I do, I now have a secret weapon in my back pocket to help me (and others) thrive along the way. Yes, you guessed it right: social intelligence!
By Fayette Fox, Jaunty's Writer and Community Manager
"Before I felt bad about saying no to people," says Jaunty graduate Sinan Mouline. "Now I feel more comfortable doing it. Also I can ask for what I want. If the other person can do it, great. If not, okay."
Born and raised in Morocco, Sinan went to college in France. These days he's a software engineer in San Francisco.
Sinan was recently invited to a big annual dinner. But he already had plans that night. In the past he would have tried to change his existing plans for fear of offending his friends. Thanks to his Jaunty social intelligence skills and assertiveness training, he did something else instead.
"I simply said, 'Hey, thank you for the invite, but I have a prior commitment. Let's hang out soon." His friend said okay and it wasn't a big deal.
Sinan is big on self-improvement and after going to a number of Meetups, realized he never instigated conversations. In other aspects of life he rarely approached others.
"I didn't feel like interrupting people and asking something."
He wanted to have the choice, to be able to talk to people for business or socially if he wanted to.
Sinan heard about Jaunty through Meetup and hoped it might help. He enjoyed the free workshop. He took advantage of a discounted one-on-one session with Eric where they talked about the areas he wanted to work on, like networking and his social life.
Sinan says, Jaunty's six-week course was, "really helpful. Every class had a lot of content." He appreciated the homework and says "it kept us involved" outside of class. Some of his classmates met up to do homework together, approaching strangers and trying out different techniques. "It helped us stay motivated and reach our goals week after week." Now, about two months after the class ended, Sinan still meets up with some of them.
Professionally, things are going well for Sinan since he's been working on his assertiveness. "I remember Eric saying it was important to speak louder, look people in the eye, and not be afraid to say what we think. Since then I've been getting a lot more responsibilities."
These days he finds it much easier to go to networking events and actually talk to people. If he's interested in them, he can do a contact exchange. "It's all quite easy with the framework from Jaunty. You just follow the steps."
Sinan says, the class, "also helped me understand myself better. I know that as much as I like interacting with people and being social, I need to have time to myself to recharge. For example, I know it's hard for me to go from social gathering to social gathering, to social gathering. So now I just avoid it. Now I say to my friends, 'Hey I need to go home and recharge. I'll meet up with you later.' Otherwise I'm not mentally present with them." Before he'd just keep on going, even if he was too tired and drained. "Now I know my needs."
He's been thinking a lot about his current and past friendships. "I think [Jaunty's Social Trainer] Craig mentioned there are two types of friends: The friends you choose and the friends you just end up being friends with. Now I'm more careful about that. I don't feel as bad setting boundaries and trying to have more friends of choice, rather than friends of convenience. I'm not necessarily going to turn my back on my friends of convenience, but I'm spending more time with my friends of choice. That means I spend more time with people I genuinely like."
By Chinh Huynh, Jaunty graduate
"Hey Brian, do you have a second?"
Brian continued looking at the screen, deep in thought.
"Is this going to be quick?"
"Yes. I'd like to let you know that I won't be able to continue working on your project. Thank you for the opportunities that you gave me."
I got Brian's attention. As he was processing the news, I sat there in silence, calm and composed. A promising collaboration went bad. When Brian convinced me to help with the project two months ago, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to work with a senior member in the organization. Toward the end, Brian seemed distracted and things got dragged out for no good reason. After trying everything I could with no progress for a week, I decided to call it quits.
Brian thanked me and shook my hand. He didn't ask me why, I didn't feel like I need to justify myself either. Did Brian lose any sleep over this? I don't know, but that's beside the point. It's Brian's feelings, he will take care of it. As for me, I made a promise in my Jaunty class to live an assertive life, and I need to hold myself responsible for it.
Having options is powerful. Knowing that you have the ability to walk away from a bad situation will give you peace of mind. While everyone knows to look for a competing offer when searching for a new job, they often fail to apply the same principle in the most important aspects of their life: friendships and relationships.
A friend of mine is not happy. She thinks she sacrifices too much and her boyfriend does not reciprocate.
"So leave him," I said.
"That's what I'll do, when I know what I want. I don't know what I want".
I feel for her. I was in a similar situation before. As poetic as it sounds, I learned from Jaunty that I don't need to sacrifice to be in a healthy relationship. What I need to do is talk to a lot of people, invest in the ones that fit in my life and let go of the rest. As I made new friends that treat me well, it became easier to cut loose of broken relationships. When you have the ability to create an abundant social life, you're no longer tied to a relationship that "has to work". You no longer need to sacrifice for love.
People come to Jaunty for various reasons. For me, assertiveness and finding quality people are the key takeaways from Jaunty's six-week program. A month after graduation I made two new friends that I greatly enjoy spending my time with. I stopped interacting with negative people. I no longer say yes when I want to say no. I lost a few friends over this but that's okay because I can make new friends who respect my decisions.
I still feel anxiety when talking to new people. That little churn in my stomach before making an approach hasn't gone away yet. Putting myself out there is hard. It always has been. What kept me going is the Jaunty alumni network that pushes me to continue advancing my social skills even after the class is over. Every ending is a new beginning and my social life has just begun.
"Today I will live a social and assertive life."
Signed Chinh. Witnessed by Jaunty. April 7, 2015.
This blog post was originally published in Jaunty's December newsletter.
Interview with Jaunty graduate Su Pang, by Fayette Fox, Jaunty's Writer and Community Manager
Su Pang is a graphic designer and traveler with a dry sense of humor. Though folks wouldn't have known it, she used to worry about what to say, if she'd gel with people, or if she'd be able to hold a conversation. After social interactions, she worried if she'd done the right thing and if people liked her.
She believes these insecurities stemmed from her family. Growing up in Singapore, her mom was always second-guessing her.
"She's very protective," Su explained. "It's like Asian culture times ten. She always told me not to do things because I was going to fail. Now I'm in my forties and she's still doing that! I grew up worrying people might not be very accepting or that things were bound to not work out."
But now she trusts her instinct and feels like things always work out.
Su realized she had been attracting a lot of toxic people into her life. She was in therapy to work out issues with her mother and boost her confidence, with the goal of creating a healthier social circle. More confident, and with more positive friends, Su discovered she still didn't have the social skills she needed. She wasn't sure how to work the group and couldn’t continue a conversation for more than twenty minutes. That's when anxieties kicked in.
Su found Jaunty one night when she was looking for something fun to do. She went to the free workshop with a friend and signed up for the six-week class.
"Jaunty really pushed me," Su said. It was hard for her going out and having to talk to people for homework. But the hard work has paid off and now she has more social skills to play with.
She used to start conversations with a negative slant. Now she's more aware of that tendency and starts with something positive. Also the class reminded her that you can be super friendly, but not everyone is going to accept you.
"But that's not about you," Su said. "If you're talking with someone and they're not really welcoming or warm, just move away and talk to someone else. I used to think about it for days and feel really bad about it." Now, she just moves on and doesn’t worry about it. "That's a big deal for me because I'm a thinker." These days she tries not to get too attached to the outcome of any one interaction.
Since discovering Jaunty, she's gotten a new job and started dating a passionate woman. Incredibly, she got the job within three weeks of being back from a two month vacation in Iceland. During the interview, she used high status humor and other Jaunty skills. Her honey has told her she was most attracted to Su's confidence. Su said she'd never heard that from anyone before and used to feel nervous dating.
"Especially when you have parents who don't reassure you, it means a lot to hear something like that," Su said. She knows she's worked hard to build that confidence and is proud of how far she's come.
"This class teaches you confidence but it also teaches you to love yourself," Su said. She believes Jaunty is helpful for everyone, even if they don't have social anxiety. "This could easily be a class for public speaking and leadership. It's a class to help you live the life you want to lead."
By Eric Waisman
You know, it's been a while since I wore my heart on my sleeve.
It's said that during jousting matches in the Middle Ages, knights wore the handkerchief of a lady in the king's court around their arms. "This one goes out to the one I love," in the words of R.E.M's Michael Stipe - basically dedicating the jousting match to a special lady. These days we post our affections on Facebook, and it's been a while since I've seen anyone joust. But the expression's still with us. Wearing your heart on your sleeve is all about being transparent and open with your emotions. That can be scary and a lot of us try to protect ourselves by being more guarded emotionally.
In the past decade or so I've worked hard to create a lifestyle of abundance. I've been surrounded by a lot of people, friends, and women, which has made it very natural to be busy and invited to a lot of stuff. I feel blessed. I genuinely have to schedule social stuff weeks in advance.
But somewhere along the way, it's become hard for me to wear my heart on my sleeve for anything. I may have come across as super independent. Looking back, I realize in my last two relationships I was a bit distant at times. When I was struggling with something emotionally, I often tried to work through it on my own instead of confiding or seeking support from the people closest to me. Now I wonder if I've closed myself off to deeper emotional connections with people by not letting myself be more vulnerable. I kinda miss a little bit of needy.
It feels really good to be desired and to desire others. Right now I'm working on finding that balance. I'm playing with being much more vulnerable in investing in people I genuinely like and love.
How can you do this?
You can straight up tell the person that they're important to you, ask them out, or even text them back immediately whenever possible. Yep, I said it. It's all about balance and opening up. Being a bit distant and independent can be very healthy and attractive, but make sure you're showing some love, and wear your heart on your sleeve as you joust through life too. Studies have actually shown a correlation between how long relationships last, and how responsive the two people are with each other.
Lately I've been getting lots of phone numbers from new people I'm meeting, and I'm realizing how great it is to establish a responsive behavior with someone. It actually feels contagious where I want to give back that great feeling of an immediate text or phone call. Getting a text back quickly may be a great sign of great things to come.
This Valentine's Day let the awesome people in your life know that you care about them. And remember, it takes real strength to show your weaknesses. Even social dynamos need help sometimes. In fact, "heart on your sleeve" is going to be my Halloween costume this year since it's pretty scary.