Carlyle Coash, MA, BCC Mind and Spirit By Carlyle Coash What makes you fascinating? I know. A bold question to start with. Seriously though, what makes you fascinating? Trust me, it’s not that tie. Or the stylish outfit. According to a study by the BBC, you generally have about 9 seconds to communicate your value to the world. Yea. 9 seconds. Apparently we share attention spans with goldfish. We can thank our modern society for this. Technology has us wired in and ready to consume on a daily basis. We can skip and scan through content – and conversations – as soon as we feel the nudge of boredom creep in. I’m unsure how we manage anything longer than an hour. The question then becomes: how do we navigate this 9 Seconds, so our true spark and wisdom shines through. About a year ago I came across the work of Sally Hogshead. Sally is a successful writer, researcher and innovator. Years ago she wondered about the role of fascination. She studied brands and how brands communicate in the marketplace. Then she shifted her approach, realizing that in the end people drive this whole process – not the brands themselves. She wondered how people communicate and add value based on how they’re seen by others. Usually we look at how we see the world. Very important to understand this certainly, but understanding how others see us also seems crucial. Why is this important? Well things move fast these days. Remember those 9 seconds? It becomes important to learn how to “frontload” your value so that people listen carefully to you. You need to see yourself like a brand. The best brands want to know how people see them – because then they can make the biggest impact with whatever marketing they use. If you understand the best ways you communicate, then your value comes across directly. Seems to make sense right? Now this might seem strange talking about your “brand” here at Organic MD, but stay with me here. After all, knowing who you are, your particular style and how the world sees you can greatly impact your emotional health. For example, if in your place of work you feel constantly at odds with your co-workers, or your boss continually assigns you tasks that don’t suit your strengths, then it might be connected to this issue. This can be part of others not seeing how you come across the strongest. Sure there are people who follow their passions and their work completely resonates with who they are and how the world sees them. I tip my hat to them. In a real sense they likely have a good balance between how they see the world and how the world sees them. They know how to express their value. For many of us, this does not quite play out. We feel stuck, our best gifts lost in the noise of this busy world. Understanding this, and realigning our communication, could shift how we feel and help us be seen in a direct and powerful way. Sally spent a decade researching this notion. Initially with 1,059 individuals through a project at Kelton Research, studying the ways fascination can be a shortcut to persuasion. Then she refined this process with 500,000 participants from all levels of life, including many Fortune 500 companies. She wanted to see what constituted the key qualities of fascination and how understanding it for yourself could improve your business. Her basic premise believes that the greatest value you add stems from being more of yourself. If you build what you do in work around your natural ways of engaging others, then your work becomes effortless and people feel drawn to you. As she states: “You already know how you see the world. But do you know how the world sees you? How is your personality most likely to impress and influence the person sitting on the other side of the table? Once you know what makes you valuable to others, you’re more authentic and confident, and more likely to make a positive impression. It all begins with understanding how the word sees you, at your best.” Interesting idea. I checked it out for myself. Part of the process involved taking a questionnaire to gauge your strongest attributes. The questionnaire came directly from the research she did, drawing from thousands of details connected to personality and style. At the end of the evaluation, the program generates your primary archetype and the qualities connected to it. Now, usually I’m skeptical of such tests. Anytime I’m being boiled down to a handful of “traits” I get squirrely. At the same time, I do generally find these kinds of evaluations help me to get a sense of myself. I can use the information to guide me if I feel it rings true. It serves as helpful insight rather than hard and fast truth. So I gave it a try. I discovered my archetype is The Catalyst, which is described as outgoing, experimental and out-of-the box. It states I make a vibrant first impression and I’m valued for my enthusiastic approach and ability to generate ideas. I speak with flair and use expressive gestures. I know how to captivate an audience. I’m “The Catalyst” because I add value by starting action. It felt strange hearing myself described in such a way. But it basically rang true. I do best when I engage others with ideas, riffing off the suggestions of others. I inspire people to leap into things and trust themselves. I bring humor and energy at times when others need to relax and rethink approaches. The evaluation stated that when I lead with this energy I inspire others more effortlessly. The evaluation also suggested my least aspect of fascination. It suggested that work that involves repetition and a heavy systems approach result in me repelling people. Why? Well those types of situations get frustrating for my Archetype very quickly. The creative process becomes constricted, defaulting to the desire for consistency and pattern. Consistency is important, but this approach is my least natural mode of communication. Was this accurate? You bet. The explanation described me exactly. Institutional systems made me crazy. For me a little system goes a long way. Environments like this become annoyed with my basic style, because I tend to be curious and ask questions. I test the system, asking “why is this so?”. I become a pest. I can follow the rules of the system, but this does not engage my spark. Instead it douses with water and muffles it with a blanket. This just engages my frustration and in the end I feel unappreciated and stuck. From this place my ability to fascinate is low. As a result my engagement in the world suffers, as does whatever activity I’m doing. You might be asking – how does all of this help me in my life? What does it really matter how the world sees me? Sure I’m not overly happy in my life but that’s just the way of things. Can it really change? Excellent questions. In our lives, relationships play a vital role. How we interact and engage others can boost these relationships or crash them. If everyday I find myself not seen for the gifts I bring, this can eat away at me. This creates a hard to see stress that over time can contribute negatively to my wellness. With a little effort though, we can generate this awareness. We can find ways to communicate clearly our strengths and where we shine. Will we find ourselves out of alignment at times? Sure. Life knows how to throw us a curve every so often. If we’ve done this work on ourselves then we understand how to adjust in those moments. If we understand our basic operating style, then challenges become more workable. We learn to draw on our sanity rather than forcing a situation to deal with our madness. Understanding this communication style gives us the chance to make better choices. In the end this helps us shine. We engage others more powerfully and in turn they want to engage us. Sounds good right? Make the Fascination Test one of the tools you use to discover your balance. It is easy to do and helps to give you guidance for your sanity. Just click HERE if you want to check it out. Then come back and share your experience. We want to hear about what you discover and if supports your process. Leave a comment today. As always – To Your Health.