“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Those of you long time readers (hey Mom) should recognize this recurring theme from a few past issues. (So, I run out of topics from time to time.) Well, in this newsletter, I aim to prove that expression wrong and am asking for your help in the process. Though first impressions are often long lasting, we all deserve second chances to overcome any unfortunate misperceptions. Each of us knows people who once may have been important in our lives, but for some reason we have lost touch with through the years. Whether it stemmed from a matter of timing, change of circumstances, or disagreement, we think about these people periodically and wonder what became of them.
Last week I attended a conference and ran into one such person, a great girl who I knew eight years ago; for some reason (entirely my fault, I’m sure), I have not seen or heard from her for quite a long time. I couldn’t help but think that it was fate that our paths once again crossed. I was not overly enthusiastic about attending this conference, and contemplated canceling at the last minute. She had only heard about it the week before, and reluctantly agreed to go at the urging of a friend. And there we were, staring at each other in the hotel lobby, my heart pounding a mile a minute with the excitement of this chance meeting; her face displaying a look of utter dismay at the “misfortune” of running into me again after all these years. It was truly a magical moment. And, as fate would have it, we are both still single.
Thus, I have made it my mission to “sweep this girl off her feet” and have struggled with just the right approach. She did an admirable job of avoiding me while I “stalked” her at the conference; she even passed along her phone number with a “555” prefix and an old business card with an outdated address, but I refuse to give up that easily. Some may suggest the more traditional approach like sending candy or flowers. I’ve never been big with such superficial attempts at sentimentality, and instead am more prone to non-traditional methods that have virtually no chance of succeeding. (Further reason that I am still single and live by myself with a dog.) Then again, I can always go with candy/flowers down the road; after all, Passover is just around the corner and nothing says “I love you” like a box of macaroons.
A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS
Here’s where you come in: my friends, family, and business associates. You guys know me better than anyone and can serve as personal references by offering POSITIVE testimonials about me to this friend from my past. I am requesting that you e-mail me a “Dear Eunice…” letter that I will forward for her review. My e-mail address is email@example.com. (By the way, her name has been changed to protect the innocent; as you know, I have always been partial to Eunice for obvious reasons. See Issue 6, October 1997 – “…if I married someone named Eunice, what would her full name become?”)
While I would never want to put words in your mouth and tell you what to say in this testimonial, focus on my more favorable characteristics and personality traits. (Some helpful hints…intelligence, sense of humor, loyal friend, creativity, family oriented, strong work ethic, compassion for fellow man, love of kids, ability to admit past mistakes, etc.) As my mother always says, “If you don’t have something nice to say about someone, don’t say anything at all.” Remember that advice when you compose these e-mails. I will use a careful screening process before deciding which ones to forward.
Just think, should this little stalking ploy prove successful, we will all have a story to repeat to our children and grandchildren. Your very letter could be the one to move this relationship forward. You may even find that you have hidden matchmaking talents that can prove helpful for others. Some may say, I have much to risk with such an outrageous scheme. I respond that I will be no worse off than I was a few weeks ago. As far as the embarrassment I may suffer, I have occasionally been known to walk around with that giant “L” branded on my forehead, so I am not overly concerned. The primary risk, as I see it, is in the responses I receive from this e-mail campaign. A lack of participation will reveal just how few people read these newsletters; even more disturbing, I may learn just what you guys really think of me. But, I am willing to take that chance, all in the name of romance.
A FEEBLE ATTEMPT AT BUSINESS APPLICATIONS
In the workplace we are often reluctant to try non-traditional approaches to tackling business issues. We read our standard company manuals, play our little political games, and rarely venture outside of what is considered normal, professional behavior. Casual days may allow us to express our own individualism, but even that relatively new concept comes with a set of rules of acceptable conduct.
The point is, don’t be afraid to take a chance with a slightly different approach (within reason) to handling a business issue. Fear of rejection from your associates (or bosses) should not hinder creativity. Many great creative minds had their initial business plans rejected over and over again, only to eventually prove their skeptics wrong. Just ask Frederick W. Smith, founder of Federal Express, who received a poor grade when he originally submitted his idea as a class project while at business school. Likewise, countless entrepreneurs in the Silicon Valley and elsewhere have swayed from traditional business models and cultures and now find themselves and their companies highly successful.
Additionally, the familiar concept of “strength in numbers,” can always prove helpful when pitching a non-traditional idea. Teamwork is the key to many successful business ventures as a united voice comes across far louder and clearer than the lone challenger in the crowd. (At least that is what I am hoping for here.) A little teamwork, a loud united voice, and maybe just maybe, this farfetched scheme to “sweep this girl off her feet” will not seem so crazy. Then again, as I have implied many times before, “You just may not get a second chance to make a first impression.” Hopefully, Eunice doesn’t agree.