I have a talent for reading people. My job is to understand what people need –not just what they say– and then deliver a product or result for them. It requires confidence, and the ability to step out of one’s own comfort zones — a talent I haven’t always had.
I was flying back from Houston the other day, and as I was boarding the plane, I was welcomed by our head flight attendant, a gorgeous woman in her late thirties. She made an impression on me, because I remember thinking to myself that she had an incredible smile.
Later in the flight, as she stopped to ask me if I’d like something to drink, I happened to catch her eyes, and in the moment or two that our eyes were locked, I caught a glimpse of a person who seemed completely insecure — as if she was completely uncomfortable in her own skin.
That look in her eye really stuck with me over the last few days, and kept bringing me back to when I was a teen, and remember living with that feeling.
I wasn’t born with good looks, money, or any particularly unique talents, and my parents certainly didn’t encourage a snow-flake mentality in my siblings or myself. I was a dumpy kid, and had insecurities just like anyone else. For the first 16 years of my life, I was just a reed, bent by the people around me, trying to find a place to fit in, and constantly trying to stay within my comfort zones — miserable.
About the time of my 17th birthday, I started to get a feeling that I wasn’t the only person to feel that way. I started to become aware of the people around me, mentally putting myself in their shoes, and realizing that most people seemed insecure.
My cure came when I got mad at myself for wasting so much time. I realized that while there are a lucky few that figure it out early, the majority of people waste 20-30 years of their life, passing up on life’s opportunities because they don’t respect themselves enough to get over their insecurities and step outside their comfort zones. This was the first step, and coincidentally, the cornerstone of my personal philosophy ever-since.
Once you come to understand that there is always going to be someone out there who is smarter, richer, and sexier than you, the sooner you can realize that you don’t need to measure yourself to other people — and their own set of crushing insecurities.