I’m a jerk. And might even be a Jerkaholic. Least I’ve been told that by more than one person lately. Undeservedly so I believe.
But sometimes you need to do a little introspection – take a timeout – to see if what the prevaricating, blasphemous, smellfungus ninnyhammer all-foam no-beer mooncalves are calling you just might be true. Introspective Break Over
That’s long enough. Not interested in paralysis by analysis. They’re wrong. Completely. Mostly completely. Mostly. Okay, I might have been a little off base once when I gave out my Radio co-host’s personal cellphone number on the air – saying it was mine – and anyone that wanted to could call me at any time, 24 x 7. And happened to mention we had forty well-paying jobs available that they might get the inside track on by calling me as much, and as often, as possible – because we were looking for persistence and stick-to-it-iveness in job candidates. That’s not really jerkaholic material. That’s just a radio host trying to generate buzz.
I might have been a little jerky when a good friend asked me to watch his house for two weeks while he was out of the country on vacation with his wife and children. And I took that time to go into his house, take his size 12 expensive dress shoes and replaced them with identical ones … size 10 1/2.
Benny Hill Would Have Understood
Does no one remember Benny Hill? That was a Benny Hill moment. I commiserated and empathized with my friend for two weeks. He was sure he was dying of some circulatory disease that was painfully swelling his feet and causing him immense problems walking – and soon after that, working. So he had to take off work. And watching him walk? It was a Benny Hill of a Mona Lisa. What a hoot. All-time classic. He was quick as a corpse. Who would have ever believed that he’d take it so seriously? He got all psychosomatically sick. I know this because he couldn’t work … until I told him what I’d done. What a psychosomatic man.
But he wasn’t upset at all. I know this because if he were, he would have said something and he hasn’t talked to me since.
A Moaning Lisa
And who would have ever believed his wife (Lisa, ironically enough) would’ve gone so ballistic on me?
Have you ever seen the show SNAPPED? The show that features women going ballistic against males they think deserve it? That was my buddy’s wife. Lisa. She stalked me. I had to get a restraining order against her. Was there any cause for that? Just because her husband couldn’t work and they couldn’t make their mortgage payments and had to sell their house? And truth be told, they didn’t really have to sell their house like they blamed me for. I hooked them up with a banker friend, and they worked some kind of deal out with their bank to just take the house back. Do you know how hard it is to sell a house in this market? But did I get any thanks for that? Noooo. So who’s the jerk there?
Project Recovering Jerkaholic
However, upon some honest introspection, I tentatively concluded there might be a nano-smidgen of almost imperceptible truth to the “jerk” allegations. I decided to speak with Guy Kawasaki on the Radio show to see if he could help me out.
A Jerk in Business & Life
“Some cause happiness wherever they go, others whenever they go.”
The first thing he recommended was trying to be more likable, because if my friends (ex-friends now) were telling me I was a jerk, imagine what my business contacts be thinking? So …
Becoming More Likable
I told Guy I was hoping some of the info in his book “Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions” would help prevent me from going to Jerkaholic rehab. ‘Did he think he could help me?”
GUY KAWASAKI: If I can help YOU I need to charge more for my book!
STEVE: My friends often call me prickly – without the “ly.” They said they were considering a jerk intervention on me. They’re wrong of course. But say they weren’t, how could someone be less of a jerk and become more enchanting?
GUY: Let’s start off with the basics, assuming some people don’t know they have to be likable. You would think that would be obvious but based on the people I know, it isn’t. Some people actually criticize the beginning of my book saying that it starts off too basic, but you know what? If a majority of the people in the world were likable and trustworthy, would have skipped those first two chapters. It’s just not so. The start of likability is …
You need to smile. This smile means you not only use your jaw but you use your eyes. The great smilers of the world have crow’s feet. Crow’s feet is good, Botox is out. You want to have crow’s feet because it adds that extra sparkle to your smile.
STEVE: I think I have that one nailed. But … I don’t really trust people so much that smile, I think they’re up to something. I’ll probably skip that step. The other thing is the eyes. All my friends say I have serial killer eyes. I don’t know where that comes from but…
Dress for a Tie
GUY: The second thing is you need to have the proper dress. You shouldn’t dress way above your audience because they might think you’re trying to put them down, you make more money or have better taste. You shouldn’t dress way under them because then they’ll think ‘this punk thinks he can wear a t-shirt and jeans when we’re in business attire because he has no respect for us.’ You should dress as peers; try to dress approximately the same as how they are dressed. Dress for a “tie.”
STEVE: See, I get this. But this is beginning to look like a challenge more for others than for me. People never dress for a tie with me. I’m a Kommando Kilt-Wearing King Kayser. They should also try to walk a mile in my kilt every once in a while. They’d realize how utilitarian and classy a manly Kilt can be. If more people wore kilts I’d probably be recognized as the Dana Carvey of the business world.
Oddly, There was dead air at this point … no idea why.
GUY: The third factor is the perfect handshake, and this is where I put in the 20 variables formula for the perfect handshake that came from the University of Manchester. So no tax dollars from the U.S. were wasted on that. The gist of it is firm handshake, cool, dry, smooth hands, make eye contact, use the smile with 2 muscles, about 2 seconds long, and not too close, not too far. Those are the keys.
STEVE: Got that one nailed too. I’m pretty good with the handshaking stuff.
GUY: The next thing I’d advise is to use the right words when speaking to people. Words are the facial expression of your mind. They communicate your attitude, personality and perspective.
Big Words Seldom Accomplish Big Deeds – Danish Proverb
Your words need to be short, sweet and swallowable. Common and unambiguous. The wrong words can immediately give the wrong impression.
STEVE: No problem. Whenever I talk to the prevaricating, blasphemous, smellfungus ninnyhammer all-foam no-beer mooncalfs that have been calling me a jerk … it’s short, sweet and palatably unswallowable.
Dead Air … Again?
GUY: A journey of a thousand miles requires at least ONE step.
Guy Kawasaki has a lot more to say about being likable and becoming “enchanting” in his new book. Things like accepting others, projecting your passion and purpose, and creating win-win situations.
Let’s Make this World a Little Better, One Jerk at a Time
Now … I’m a recovering jerkaholic work in progress. So if you see me out and about, and you’re not a prevaricating, blasphemous, smellfungus ninnyhammer all-foam no-beer mooncalf … strike up a conversation! Let’s chat! You’ll be participating in “Project RECOVERING JERKAHOLIC” and making this world a little bit better … one jerk at a time.