I have a confession to make. I am completely addicted to crime solving/mystery/spy-type TV shows, like Psych, Lie To Me, The Mentalist, Burn Notice
, and my latest infatuation- White Collar
. And as I was delightfully absorbing episodes of White Collar yesterday, I started thinking about the life lessons we could learn from these human chameleons. (OK, maybe I was rationalizing my habit, but it’s still a valid lesson for me and maybe you need to hear it, too.)
On White Collar
, Neil is a master forger, world renowned thief, and general con man who escaped from a maximum security prison and now works as a consultant for the FBI (It’s like Catch Me If You Can, if you’ve seen that.) Like any good con artist, he’s able to walk into any situation and adapt flawlessly to reach his goal. There are three main skills that he employs constantly that I know I could learn from.
1. Complete confidence in his own abilities. He noticed forged signatures based on a single hesitation mark that no one else would see. He doesn’t make those hesitations. He forges masterpieces with no fear that anyone know that they are fake. He flashes a smile while pretending to be a delivery man, cop, millionaire, etc, and no one ever doubts him. Meanwhile, so many of us doubt our abilities in our own jobs, where we’ve been trained, where we have experience, where we excel. But we let fear and insecurity steal our confidence. We let doubt sneak in and make us look less knowledgeable than we are. Take a clue from the con man and have confidence in yourself, even if you have to fake it at first. A firm handshake, a strong voice, and a confident smile can take you further than you’ve imagined. You deserve to have faith in yourself. You work hard to be your best- accept that you are worthy and magnificent. Your audience (coworkers/clients/boss) will believe it because you do.
2. He truly listens to people. His interactions, even with complete strangers, are not the “Hi, How are you?”- now run along because I don’t really have time to hear your answer- way that many of us move through life. It’s a deeper, “What are your dreams and aspirations?”, “What lights you up?”, “Who are you really?” way of listening; one that we all long to experience. And by hearing those deeper messages- both spoken and unspoken- he’s able to tap into those desires and give people their wish in order to get what he wants from them. What if we really listened to our partners? What if you didn’t have to wonder what to get them for an anniversary because you remember that 3 months ago they mentioned a dream of going on a hot-air balloon ride? Or a concert that was coming up? Would you have fewer arguments because you were in tune with their need for extra comfort or a bit of space because you heard it in their voice? Would you hug more? Would your sex life be better?
3. Attention to detail. He remembers names of security guards and secretaries, notices what wine people order, sees what they love based on the memorabilia on their desk, and can tell you exactly what type of paper is used for specific currencies. He caught another forger with two tiny little initials iAnd those details that so many of us ignore- they’re the real fabric of life. Imagine how much more joyful life might be with that sort of attention to detail. If you greeted the receptionist by name when you go to the doctor, if you asked your coworker about the story of a great accessory she wears every day, if you brought in lunch for your boss from her favorite place. If you pay attention to these little details, you’re bound to excite and surprise the people around you, and make your life more joyful because of all the smiles you’re collecting.
I’ll keep doing more ‘research’ to see if there are any more lessons from this show and I’d love to have you share any you have in the comments. Just don’t forge any great works of art, okay? If you are interested in rediscovering your confidence, please check out my Work page for more info on how we could work together. Or go here to set up a free Fairy Godmother Session to dig into your dreams and see what magic we can find.