Go First

Go First.  Two words that can cause fear and dread in many.  In fact, I can recall being lined up in my mixed Gym class freshman year dreading having to go first. The teacher’s eyes perused the line, looking for someone to demonstrate jumping a hurdle.  Finally her sharp (did they also look mean?) eyes landed on me.

“Arlene – go first!”

Why she chose to pick on me, I’ll never know.  My stomach dropped and I’m pretty sure my knees knocked.  For sure they felt like they were about to buckle. At that moment, I would have given anything to be anywhere else in the world. But I did it.

Go first.  Those two words have shown up with steady frequency throughout my life and recently a new concept of what it means to go first was introduced to me.

The CFO of my company recently read “Tools of Titans” by Tim Ferriss.  It’s chock-full of habits, routines and tactics of successful people in all parts of the world from all industries and backgrounds.  From some 600+ pages of wisdom and insights, the CFO shared her first big take-away from the book with me.  Go First.

It goes something like this:  During your day-to-day interactions with people, some of whom you’ll know, but many of whom will be new to you…go first when it comes to saying “hi.” Go first in making eye contact and connecting.  Go first with sharing a smile, just because.  Go first when it comes to lending a hand, going out of your way and being the person you, yourself, would love to connect with out in the world.

So many of us are fearful of not being accepted.  To make eye contact and connect and risk not having that effort reciprocated is intimidating.  But when you meet a stranger, smile first regardless of what the response may be.  Smile anyway.

Go first. Two simple words that are a conscious choice in our minds to lead by example.  It means being willing to put our best foot forward in the world.  It also means creating the possibility for positive feedback and knowing that more often than not, the reward for those two words will far outweigh the fear we may initially feel.

Like all things in life, the more we practice, the easier it gets. So, please….Go First.

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