Changing Your Perception

[Modified from original posting Nov. 11 2013]

“If you are considering going to law school let me just stop you right now and tell you, don’t do it. Seriously. Don’t. It’s not fun. It’s hyper competitive, full of type A personalities. It’s hard. Have you seen the movie Paper Chase? It’s like that, but worse…”

I vaguely remembered this commentary made by a family friend back in 2005, as I was anxiously awaiting to hear about law school acceptance. I made the decision in 2004, after years of watching The West Wing and realizing most of the characters were lawyers, that law school was for me. I’ll say that again, The West Wing is the reason I’m in law school…I know.

Why was I being cautioned? Well, this particular friend had a negative impression of his short lived law school experience. You see, he got into law school, and after a less than average first year, academically speaking, he chose to leave, never having experienced the full three years of his program.

This negative impression created a pretty negative perception. And how we each perceive the world can be a powerful influencer. Of others, as well as yourself.

I notice that one of the biggest reasons people are nervous of networking is that their perception is negative. “How am I going to do it.” “I might not be good at it.” “Where do I begin?” This is where planning comes in. With any networking situation I insist on having a laid out plan of attack.

Whether it is starting from left to right, or making sure I speak to three people, I always make sure there is a plan for how I will work each room I walk into. It’s the easiest way to begin knocking down the barrier of a negative perception of networking.

So, start right now.  What is your plan to change your perception?  One easy useable tip is prior to each networking event visualize what the end result will be.  If you are networking to get a job, visualize you in the cushy corner office and know that the networking is all happening to further that ambition.  If you want to get new business, visualize the money you will spend after closing that big deal!

What will you visualize?…..Now, change your perception.

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