By Joe Hill, Jaunty graduate
There is something special about moving to a new place. Everything that you've done in the past becomes irrelevant. Cliché says, "You can be whoever you want to be; no one knows you." What happens, though, when you try to be someone else but continue the same behavior? Nothing.
I moved to San Francisco in April of 2015. In the year prior, I lost 100 pounds and taught myself about men's style. I'd created a website to help other men become remarkable in their own health and fitness. I was determined that, as I left my old life to begin anew in body, spirit and career, I was going to be different.
I realized quickly, though, that I didn't know how to be anyone else. My entire life, I'd thrived on the affirmation of others. I needed everyone's approval. I was fat and sloppy and relied on the "funny guy routine" to get other people to like me. It never mattered what I wanted; my job was to become a chameleon to my surroundings because that's how I obtained the approval of others.
It was my goal to change. It's an interesting place to be ready to change but not to know how. As the Buddhist proverb would have it, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." Enter Jaunty.
I'd lived in California for four days when I went to a free Jaunty workshop, and five when I met Eric Waisman for a one-on-one. I was eager to dive in and dive I did.
The six-week course was valuable. The treasure of Jaunty is that you leave each class with the courage, knowledge, and drive to begin to change. I would begin the homework with just enough gallantry to make one small change, then another.
There was a specific change that I struggled to make about halfway through the class. I didn't know it then, but this one change, this single experience, would open the floodgates of progress and put me in a place where my life was completely changed. That struggle was familiar to many of us and is known commonly as "approach anxiety"; Seeing an attractive person and feeling unable to start talking to them.
While working with Jaunty coach Craig Gibbons in a one-on-one session, I saw her: the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.
"Go," Craig encouraged me.
"Go now," he commanded.
I was stunned. To Craig, this was normal and within the bounds of where my progress should have lied. To me, however, she was an angel with no interest in talking to me. I became overwhelmed and stunned.
"Go make her day," he said in a final effort. Light bulb. I finally understood that it wasn't about me. She was going to be excited about this. He was right. I approached and as soon as I began speaking, the anxiety subsided. Her soft features were countermanded by the smile that stretched across her face. She was glowing. It was in this moment that I realized that I have the capacity to be the person who goes after what I want in every area of my life.
In a new city where I accepted the challenge and wasn't sure what to expect from Jaunty, I left the course with a new skill-set, new confidence, and new friends. All of that is mute in comparison to my new mindset. At the end of the course we were asked, "What is your biggest takeaway?"
I said, "I am allowed to have the edge. I am allowed to have what I want. I am allowed to have the girl, the job, the friends; I am allowed."
By Eric Waisman, Jaunty's Founder
I used to be a professional social butterfly. When I worked in finance for Merrill Lynch, part of my job was to attend black tie events three times a week, and schmooze. From private penthouse parties, to rented-out museums, I honed my social intelligence skills, chatting with the city's elite.
I did this for two years straight, with my business partner, who happened to be the best wingman ever. At Jaunty we teach how to connect with anyone, anywhere. A lot of us can feel a bit intimidated by uber powerful people, but you know what? They're just people.
Here's what I learned about connecting with San Francisco's upper crust:
1. You get qualified....very quickly - The who's who crowd is great at sizing people up. Sometimes the intentions are good, sometimes not. They embed conversations with things like, "Who did you come with?" "What do you do?" and "Where do you summer/live?" I don't think it's to compete so much as qualifying you as "one of us." Rolling with these questions but then taking the conversation deeper and making them feel good with humor, fun "weaving," and even flirtation, really differentiated us at these events.
2. They are competitive between themselves - As we gained clients within this circle, we learned they were relaxed about their finances and retirement, and upbeat about travel and other experiences. But what really stressed them out was how they were doing in relation to their neighbors. There is a definite hierarchy within these groups and they were always trying to ask us how they compared. Keeping up meant asking where the Jones' had bought their newest property. Being able to recognize the concerns of the people you are talking to, no matter how ridiculous it may seem, can show empathy. Especially since many other people would roll their eyes, when you consistently keep an open mind, you show you're thoughtful.
3. They are not happier than anyone else - According to a Princeton study, we apparently feel happier the more we earn, but only up to an annual household income of around $75k. Beyond that point, more money may not make us any happier.
Most happiness is from within. I met a lot of elites who seemed uninterested in their spouse and bored. Even when feeling unexcited about engaging with someone, putting a wedge in this feeling and really paying attention to what the person is saying with their words and their body, can make all the difference. Seriously, when was the last time you asked what someone's body language or vocal tonality was really trying to convey? This is where we came in and brought some exciting conversation using stories and empathy. They loved it and this is how we created some great relationships with them.
4. Don't put anyone on a pedestal - This one can be hard sometimes, especially if you're talking with someone who's done something you think is really cool. But really understanding yourself and getting comfortable with people skills, we can feel social freedom with anyone. Also, if you want to talk the lingo, they always say, "Nice to see you." and never say "Nice to meet you." when greeting someone new or not. I use this all the time now.
There's no right or wrong, or good or bad when it comes to external versus internal status in our lives. However as we discuss in our workshops, we've found that internal status trumps external status every time.
Today, start a conversation with someone with high external status that you wouldn't ordinarily talk to. Maybe it's your boss' boss, or a well-dressed stranger on the street. If you've come to one of our free workshops you already have some ideas of what to do. If you've attended one of our six-week courses you can take the conversation anywhere you like. Have fun and let me know how it goes!
By Fayette Fox, Jaunty's Writer and Community Manager
"I want to take my life to the next level," Daniel Evan Lee told Eric, after the free Jaunty workshop. "I feel like I'm plateauing." After college, he'd gotten a sales job at a start-up. Three years later he kept wondering if there was a better opportunity out there, somewhere that would be a better fit, where he could make more money.
Working in sales, he felt his social intelligence and relationship skills were directly related to the deals he could close. He thought, "If I can advance my awareness and interactions with others," then maybe he could up his whole game.
He signed up for Jaunty's six-week course with the intention of improving his business life and being ready when his big moment came.
"I'm glad I got to take a class with a range of people and not just business people." In college, Daniel pitched multiple business ideas that were all shot down by his peers and executives. He got comfortable with rejection and learning to manage social anxiety. At Jaunty, he says, "One of the bigger skills I've learned is how to make other people feel more comfortable when they're uncomfortable."
This past fall, six months after taking the course, Daniel was "killing it" at work. He felt confident and interviewed for jobs at three companies in different industries.
"There was this one I really wanted," Daniel says. "I put my all into it." He recalls the extreme disappointment when he wasn't hired.
Then, three weeks into the New Year, a direct competitor reached out to him. His big moment had come. He met up for a beer with the competitor's CEO.
"This guy made millions of dollars with his old company. He's very techie and aggressive. What I chose to wear that day was planned and precise. I've noticed when I wear a baseball hat people pre-judge me." So he wore his baseball hat. "He looks me up and down, kind of hesitant. I can feel it. I said, 'Dude, let's keep it transparent. Why did you reach out to me?'" They went right into the opportunity.
"I was that person they were looking for." Daniel didn't have to prove anything to them. "I felt like I was on fire. I was in the zone." Daniel kept a poker face and stayed focused on his moment even after the CEO offered him a job with a salary and commission that he couldn't refuse.
Thanks to Jaunty, Daniel says, "I noticed his body language, the speed of his delivery of words. It happened so fast but so slow. I vividly remember what's going on." Daniel feels all his social intelligence work went into that moment. Feeling high status and confident, he knew how to present himself.
Daniel really believes in his new company and feels supported in his new job.
"Twelve months ago I couldn't tell you that I'd be feeling this way about my life. That feeling of being excited and waking up before your alarm is amazing." He used to commute from the City to Berkeley every day and now that work is ten minutes away, he has an extra ten hours a week of free time. He enjoys going to the gym on his way home. He's looking forward to buying a house. "I can be my own true Jaunty and have fun with life."
"Jaunty has been incredible," Daniel says. "It gave me skills to lead a conversation, to guide the entire feeling of a conversation to where I'd like it to go. It's helped me slow down my life. I'm way quicker on my feet with jokes. We all have opportunities. Now I feel like I'm getting better and picking the best ones."
By Eric Waisman
This blog was originally published in Jaunty's June newsletter while Eric was living in New York City for a few months.
I'd like to share the trick I have been using to explode my social circle. In the first few weeks here, I have already been invited to countless rooftop parties, been asked to speak at two large events and was invited by the head of the air conditioning mafia to his mansion for a dinner party. Yep, that happened. Here's what I have been doing and you can do it too.
Using our Jaunty skills I have been meeting a ton of people through WeWork, my roommates' friends, at parks, bars, cafes, on the subway, and of course...on the street. At some point in the conversation I bring up that I am new to NYC.
If you are not new to your city you can say, "I'm looking to get out and meet new people", or that you are always looking out for a new adventure.
Then I say I would love for them to let me know about all of the great events they know of in the city. I frame it as though they are connected to insider stuff, (which everyone is to a certain extent,) and that they have status by having such cool resources. So I straight out ask them to invite me to everything! If you are using your conversational agility skills as we teach at Jaunty, a good percentage of the people will start inviting you to stuff.
Now here is where the magic comes in. Let's say I met 20 people and asked them all to invite me to their fun events and let's say five start inviting me to things. I will invite everyone (all 20 minus the person who invited me) to all of the events from the five (unless it's a private house party). So even for all of the other 15 people that have not invited me to anything, now I am, out of the blue, inviting them to a bunch of cool stuff. That makes them start inviting me to things too.
Plus, I am now showing up to the events with a bunch of people I know and I can start introducing people to each other. This has been a crucial piece of my building my social circle here. My new and old friends here are calling it "Eric's Posse."
This is the power of showing vulnerability up front. You ask people to take you under their wing, and turn it around and take them under your wing. Getting invites feel great and being able to invite people you've just met to events feels awesome. Try it out and let me know how it goes.