Simon Sinek

I wasn’t always a fan of Simon. In fact, I was what you could call a Simon Cynic.

I thought here comes yet another person telling us what to do, how to do it and why it’s important. As a native New Yorker, my skepticism was big and my cynicism was bigger.

I grew up as a kid listening to, and playing Simon Says. As I got older, I began listening to, and playing a bigger game called “my life” while still listening to a different Simon – except this time however, he wasn’t plastic but still just as colorful…of course I am speaking of Mr. Sinek.

When I first came across Simon almost 10 years ago I wasn’t convinced. I thought, “here we go again with the same thing spun differently” but I was pleasantly surprised to follow his messages and create value from his presentations all the while developing some great best practices.

Simon’s contribution to elevating powerful presentations but also how to embrace and boost your company’s overall performance has been a life saver for me. I have watched his talks, listened to his interviews and studied his presentations. There’s a lot that you can learn from what he shares.

Here are my biggest takeaways based on his own words and how you can apply them on the stage of your life:

“Don’t talk right away”

Most people despise silence especially when it’s awkward, as he once mentioned to never rush your presentation or speaking. He couldn’t be more correct. The audience will not just pick up on your energy but will feed off it and if they don’t like how it tastes – they will spit it and you out. Learning to be with the unknown, let alone life’s silence take practice but some simple mindfulness training or even yoga is a great place to begin learning. Sometimes great ideas as well as opportunities don’t knock but whisper – make sure you are listening.

“Show up to give, not to take”

People are innately intuitive beings – granted some more than others but intuitive nonetheless. Why is this important? It means people can sense, smell or detect when something feels off, funny or downright sketchy. When presenting you never want to overtly sell yourself but rather teach, share or give away something so that others are open and interested in your message. In life, no one likes a know it all or one-upper. If you can’t forward a conversation or allow someone else the spotlight, then you are best saying nothing and just move on.

“Make eye contact with audience members one by one”

Much has been written on this topic around connecting with your audience when presenting and the basic do’s and don’ts to a successful read of the room. I believe the same holds true in life in general when you are speaking one on one or within a group. Making sincere and genuine eye contact with another person not only shows you are interested but tells them they are worth it. It’s actually an incredible gift you can give another person and it doesn’t cost a penny. Let’s be clear though, I am not talking about a creepy blank stare, but rather one with emotion and interest. For many, this level of intimacy can be off-putting but once you get past that – true connectivity awaits and it’s priceless.

“Ignore the naysayers”

Simon has said this on a few different occasions and although it’s nothing new, it’s totally valid and important. There will always be haters and people who want to see you fail. This spite is due to their own insecurities and jealousy and nothing to do with you specifically. Many times, the person doesn’t even know you. Focus on the people who are rooting for you and pushing you up, not holding you down and back. In the end, it requires the same amount of energy to focus on a naysayer versus a do-gooder.

“Say thank you when you’re done”

I love how he mentions the importance of acknowledging those who acknowledge you. This is a common courtesy but sadly not a common practice. Make it one. Show appreciation and affection for those important to you, they will value you for it and you will increase your personal value along the way.

“Speak on what you know and care about”

Similar to number two above, when you speak on things you either don’t know or don’t care about – it can become painfully obvious and is a turn off. Resist the temptation to follow the crowd or push content just because. I have learned as a writer that it’s better to write nothing than trying to write on something I don’t really care about. Be authentic can and will look different to each person but if something doesn’t feel right, then listen to the warning signs. They’re everywhere but you have to look and listen for them.

The floor is yours: What (motivational) figure has changed your perspective on life?

Please leave your comment below as your insights are greatly appreciated and a learning opportunity for everyone reading this article.

With leadership,

Joshua /

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