I once worked for a narcissist (haven’t we all?). When I resigned from the firm, he called me to his office, patted me on the head and asked “Do you really think that you will open doors on your own, without our impressive brand behind you?”. I panicked for as long as it took me to remember that it was I who opened the door to the impressive brand when I put myself forward for that job, and secured it, several years before. Being on our own, without the clout of a big brand behind us, requires this: gumption, determination and the fundamental of today’s post – being interesting.
We’ve all met those men or women who bore us at the dinner table as they flounce and flaunt their own success. They’re proficient in jargon – they cite the numbers, the brands, the names in high circles. They show us pictures on their super-duper tech devices of their marble kitchens, their kids valedictorians, the fine wine given them as a gift from someone who ought to make us swoon because their last name is synonymous with the having reached the top. Yawn. Invite these same, seemingly worldly people into a conversation about something that has nothing to do with business, money or high-flying, and you may see them stutter. They are so darn busy building their success that they leave little time for other pursuits and interests. Who are these people when that big brand that backs them is not embossed on their pencil case? Are they interesting enough to open doors on their own?
As you may know, I arrived in Santiago two and a half years ago. I have written more about what I’m doing here in See you in Santiago. This is a big, big city. Before I arrived, I knew only one person in the whole city (one is better than none, so lucky me!). And I was really keen to make friends, connect with people and explore the opportunities. Whilst I may have (through hard work and consistency) achieved some degree of ‘success’ at home, I am as arbitrary as a common city grey dove in this new world. Gloating about my marble kitchen (that’s tongue in cheek – I don’t have a marble kitchen…yet!) was not going to open a single door for me here. And so I have learned this: it’s not the success that maketh the women, but the interests she has. It’s been my photography, my yoga, my improv acting, my fascination with astrology, my love of cooking and of Jazz, my respect for animals – these are the things that have attracted people to me, and me to them, and opened up the doors that have allowed me to take baby steps into a society that may or may not care for my career success. And, I’m delighted to say that this exploration of my interests has resulted in my securing clients and speaking gigs in this fabulous city. So here are my five reasons why being interesting is as important as being successful;
1) It shows a well-rounded personality. None of us are impressed anymore with those who worship “too busy to have hobbies”. Seriously, it’s time we got a life!
2) It stimulates conversation. Conversation is a two-way process. What are you interested in? What am I interested in? It’s a back and forth that all of us love. It endears us to people and them to us.