Building A Connection
Again, we're just talking about them, right, we're asking a question, we're getting the ball rolling. Now, we start showing some appreciation, we give them that compliment, we ask that why or how question, that open-ended question to really get them to open up. Now I want to teach you how to build that connection, right? So we're not just doing small-talk. We're not making surface connections. We're actually adding some depth to these relationships. And as you heard Jordan say earlier, right, I would rather go to an event and meet one close friend, than collect a hundred business cards. So this is how we're gonna do it, and it all starts with sharing your narrative. Now, your narrative has many layers. And I like to think of this as like an onion, I know that's an odd visual, for your narrative, but, your narrative is like an onion, right? The outermost layer of your narrative, we're willing to share with anyone, with the world. Then there are these inner layers that we hold a little c...
loser to our narrative. So, I wanna break down each one of them. And again, those of you who purchased the class, have this nifty workbook. So, sharing your narrative. The first outer-layer of our narrative is our past. Your past is made up of experiences in your life. Lessons that you may have heard, or had through experience. And, bonus points for here for vulnerability. Being open about those moments where you didn't know what you were doing. You fumbled through it, you were a little nervous. Sharing those experiences are gonna go a lot further than those bragging experiences we talked about earlier. And, all of us here, didn't know each other before today. But I can guarantee you, you're willing to share a story with your neighbor. Something that happened in your life. The inner-layers, we guard a little closer. We wait to build some trust before sharing. But, telling stories, sharing some lessons from life, that we'll share with everyone. So, when it comes to your past, I want you, in this column here, to write down one lesson you've learned over the last five years of your life. Maybe it was from a mentor, maybe it was from experience, but what's a lesson that's really had a huge impact on you? Changed the way you behave, the way you act? Some of the best experiences I like to use here, are travel, activities that were outside of your comfort zone, the first time you tried something, that you're learning a new skill. Right, again, expressing a little bit of that vulnerability. So, that's our outer-layer of our narrative, right? Who we are, shaped by our experiences. One of the inner-layers, right, just under that outer-layer of our onion, is our present. Who we are today. Your thoughts, beliefs, morals, values. These change your behavior today, right? If you really value something, you're gonna act a very specific way. So, in that column, just write down one value that you hold. Could be honesty, it could be loyalty. Some of us are struggling a little on this one, and that's fine, right? We're raising awareness, because the problem is if we do not share our full narrative with people, we feel fake, we feel contrived, it feels like we're holding something back. And unfortunately right now, a lot of us coming into this class are like whoa, AJ, I didn't want to tell you what my values are. You're getting a little heavy for me. So we weren't really thinking about it, but take a little bit of time, identify one. And then the last inner-most layer of this onion, the part of our narrative, of who we are, and where we hope to be, that we hold nearest and dearest. Maybe we only share with a spouse, a best friend, that's your future. What are your aspirations? What are your goals? And conversely, what are your fears? What terrifies you? What scares you? So for this one, I want you to write down one goal, and one fear. I want you to feel the duality. So, one goal, and one fear. And now, we're gonna be vulnerable with our partner. We've covered the past, you guys are pretty comfortable now, we've shared a little bit with each other through these questions, and through these worksheets. So, I want us to focus on the present, and the future. I want you to turn to the person next to you, and tell them what you value, and why that is. Alright, how did you reach that conclusion? How did you realize that loyalty is what you value? Right, maybe you were back-stabbed, or you're walked all over, or you thought some loyalty, but you didn't have it in your friends. And then listen to the other person share theirs. And then articulate your goal. What's that one goal you have for yourself, five, ten, twenty-five years from now. Let's take a minute, hopefully we wrote down some stuff in our notebooks, and let's open up a little more, and share with our partners. We asked each other questions to start the day, right? Wrote down everyone's answers, then we showed some appreciation, we talked about traits that we value. And I asked you, how much better do you feel, conversing with your neighbor? Do you feel like you know them, to a degree? And now, think about it, how well do you think you know the person next to you? Do you have a pretty good sense for who they are? So, I wanna allow you guys to know me a little bit more, I've asked you to share your narrative, so I'll share you briefly, my narrative. Growing up, my parents got divorced at a very young age, and my father won custody of me and my sister. And, I was good in school, good enough that he wanted me to choose medicine as a career, and really pursue it, and he would jokingly call me his 401K-A. He was a blue-collar dad. (audience laughs) And, you know, I went to college, and I started pre-med, and I thought that was the track for me, and I did what anyone in pre-med does. I got a job in a hospital, trying to pad that Med School application, right? And I hated it. I hated working in the hospital. I felt that doctors, in general, were pretty stressed out. Their career wasn't turning out the way that they'd anticipated. And it's a lot of hard work. So, I went to my dad, and I said, "I'm not sure Med School is for me." And he's like, "are you sure? You've been studying science, we've been talking about this." Right, "we," we, we've been talking about this. And, Jordan and I started the podcast, and the podcast started taking off, and Jordan had just got a job on Wall street, and he was moving to New York. And, I was going to the lab to do some research, focused on biology, trying to make my dad happy. And, I found that this desire to be in New York City, with Jordan, working with clients who were struggling with some social anxiety. And, I told my dad I'm dropping out of Graduate School. He was furious. Right, the one value that my dad had more than anything, was education. He felt that if he strived hard enough, and could provide the education for me and my sister, we could be more successful than him. He never completed college. The fact that I completed college was good, but he wanted me to complete Graduate School. Go on to achieve much bigger things. And I tried to explain to him, "Dad, this is still education, I'm teaching people how to be social." He didn't understand it. So I moved to New York, and starting a business is not easy, we made a ton of mistakes. And, unfortunately, we had to leave New York. We moved to LA, and kinda started fresh. Patch up the business, focus on some new things. And, when I moved to LA, at this point my relationship with my father was really strained. And, I remember calling him, and we'd talk about the weather, and then he would ask me about Medical School, and I'd say, "Oh, I gotta go, I gotta get back to work." And I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to go back to the University of Michigan to give a talk, to the graduating seniors, about what we wished we'd learned in undergrad. What were some lessons we could impart as alumni. My dad was all excited to be there, we had some football tickets, he was going to see this talk. And, the talk doesn't go very smooth. We have some issues, and I'm nervous, and this is my one moment to really prove it to my dad, and he gets it. I could see he's excited. And we go back, I go back to LA, and we're talking a little bit more, but unfortunately my dad's health takes a turn, and he passes away, of a heart attack. And, I'm flying back to Michigan, to bury my dad, and I, I'm struggling now, to live up to the idea that my dad had for me, right? You think of your father, you think of having all this time to prove to your dad that you were right, and I just had that one moment, where I kind of inspired him a little bit, and he was excited about me. And now, my family hands me his address book, and says, "We need you to call family and friends, and let them know what had happened." And my dad was embarrassed about the Art of Charm. He was convinced I was going to back to pursuing that education, and go back to Graduate School. So now, I'm staring at this phone book, wondering what am I gonna say to all these people that I've been doing in LA? I don't know that they know what I'm doing. And I pick up the phone, I call the first person, and they go, "Oh my God, so sorry about your dad, he just called us a few months ago about that talk you gave in Michigan, and the Art of Charm." Whoa, what, really? My dad called? Picked up the phone? And it just felt like my dad went through the phone book, calling everyone to brag. And I say this, because now my biggest fear, is not succeeding in this mission. The fear of failure. The fear of not delivering for you, here at Creative Live. So, my narrative has very similar parts to yours, and that's how we can connect, right? You may not have lost your dad, but you've gone through some hardship, you've made some career moves that other people didn't understand. And that's why, through this exercise, I wanted you to understand that you can't live your life just sharing the past with people. Just focusing on that outer-layer of your narrative. If you want real connection with people, you gotta start sharing what you value. For me, I still value education. So I was so excited to come here today, to teach you guys these social skills that have helped improve my life tremendously as an introvert. And, I still have some fears, some doubts, that's totally normal. And I'm happy to share them with you here. Because I know that that makes me human, and that's how we connect. How we feeling? Do we feel pretty connected? You guys know a little bit more about me? Hopefully you know a little bit more about your neighbor.