Selling yourself first…then sell the thing

July 7, 2016

Early on in life – I (and others, especially my parents) realized with a mix of sadness and regret that other people always seemed smarter than me….they could talk really well, while all I could do was look out at the world with a blank expression as if I wasn’t supposed to be even there…I did to belong…not to the world at least…or was it me?

When I started work. Many were more qualified while I had to make do with half measures….or was it only half filled…again I don’t know.

I found myself in a number of different fields….mostly jobs that didn’t suit me. Or maybe it was the other way around – and to be really honest many were perhaps happiest to see me go…but I had a habit of reading voraciously – I knew a lot of stuff that many people didn’t know, most of it was of course useless like how do you get lead into a wooden pencil – or why do eggs in a carton always break in the middle of the pack and never the sides and a million other stuff that most people don’t know – one day when I was working for a tobacco company. A group of old white men looked at a bale of tobacco leaf…they seemed to be arguing…then out from the blue (he must have presumed I was the warehouse supervisor….maybe) a senior executive asked me what I thought about it – I splayed out a whole leaf and told him and other senior executives something was very wrong with this consignment – someone asked what? I said look at the veins, they’re larger than usual…that means wherever this came from wasn’t from where the manifest said it originated from – this crop is starved of water…it came from a drought hit region…..later on when someone rechecked the manifest – it merely confirmed what I had said….the consignment was labeled wrongly or maybe the vendor was just trying to pull a fast one…it definitely wasn’t Virginian leaf….rather Turkish – I can’t tell you exactly what happened thereafter.

But if I had to make a guess, I had successfully imprinted myself in the brain of all right people around me that hot day in the warehouse – I did it ONLY once, but everyday thereafter whenever someone wasn’t sure about a suspicious consignment – I was always called in to inspect the contents of the container….soon I found myself in board rooms where everyone wore suits and something very strange happened – these men would ask me what I thought about this and that….usually I never gave a clear cut answer…..not that I knew the answer…you see I just appear to know….it’s the illusion of the appearance that I know – this exasperated some people…who demanded either a yes or a no….but since I suffered from an incurable lag in not being able to commune with the world in the way that most people can supply an answer when asked – even when I was pressed….I would usually say something like, ‘how interesting,’ or at other times I would just keep silent and because my face has a natural diabolically evil condescending look of conniving intelligence – it seemed as if I was trying to humiliate or make another senior executive appear stupid or worse still…I was setting him for the fall.

So they promoted me on the understanding that I would be part of their inner circle…..that I would play ball, instead of being difficult all the time….to put it another way, I had someone managed to sell myself as someone indispensable…..valuable and highly important to the whole equation of organizational success – and again I did the same thing, but this time it wasn’t interpreted as belligerence. Rather they all listened to me only because they believed I was very good at covering my ass this time …so they went with every decision I made…but since I never really made any decision except maybe agree with everyone else who seemed to agree…again I managed to sell myself as someone very sensible…reliable and above all infallible… that time, I didn’t think much about this, but now it must be something to do with selling myself….and that makes the idea of selling a thing much easier I suppose.

Eventually I grew bored and moved on to other jobs……and again the same thing sequence events would happen without even the slightest trace of variation from what previously transpired… was always the same….ONE incident that established irrevocably without any shadow of doubt that by every definition of the word ‘perfect’ – whenever a crisis crop up it was impossible for me either a wrong or suboptimal decision….again I was fast tracked…..promoted….inducted into the inner circle of older men who always regarded me someone who could always be trusted to always keep cool under crisis and make the right decision…..

By that time I even delighted in the idea of humiliating those who went against what I suggested – usually I would allow them to argue their case forcibly…passionately….right to the very end when they had even painted themselves into the proverbial corner – while I sat there impassively. But at the end of it all…the old men in the board always looked at me and on one occasion I even had the temerity to exclaim, ‘do what you like!’ And just walked out. The dearly unfortunate Vice President finally secured a hairline buy in from the board….it flopped of course…..a catastrophic success they called it….he got sacked…or maybe he simply felt the need to move on….I got his job.

I never had any friends at work. I lunched mostly with very old men….we always took two hours or more….I do not have a single memory, not even one, where I was ever in the company of people my own age…..which to me is rather odd. Perhaps it had something to do with my reputation of always bumping off my own boss and taking over his job….eventually a compromise of sorts was hammered out by the old men in senior management to fast track me providing I promised to curb what they refereed too as my ‘imperialistic tendencies’…..and that made it incredibly difficult for me to ever develop any form of meaningful relationship with anyone my age at work….that could explain it – after all who the hell wants to get close to someone who everyone knows is going to be their boss one day!

Shortly thereafter I promised the board never ever to embarrass publicly or bump off any other of my direct superiors any longer….there were of course other concessions…perks….on reflection it’s hard to say what really accounted for my peculiar life as a salaried man…could well have been my slow and quiet and slow burn demeanor….but if I had to point to one thing tangible – it’s the ability to sell oneself…in this case the seeming appearance of a diabolically intelligent man who might perhaps even relish in the taste of blood.

After that I grew bored and started my own business….


‘Selling yourself doesn’t necessarily mean one has to be able to make others feel comfortable or even at ease or feel good about who they are…that’s optional….to me at least….that’s the low impact stuff.

Being able to successfully sell yourself – just means you have made a perceptive shift to see yourself as a corporation in your own right – the way you dress, speak, convey a thought, manage yourself and others… are a corporation and even should you work in a firm – you’re really just a corporation within a corporation where you are the CEO of your own branding and persona.

That’s all it means!

To accomplish this perceptive leap…..may well be hard….but if I had to pin it down to a few bullet points – it simply has to do with striving to be authentic and natural and being no one else except maybe who you are….the art of developing your own style to manage yourself and others which of course involves the acceptance of certain realities like how most of the time at work, it’s not really a case of remaking oneself with the seven habits of highly effective people. Rather it’s the brass tacks of how to deal with the seven habits of highly ineffective people…..most people try to damn hard to be someone who they know, they’re not…I have absolutely no idea where they’ve uploaded that crummy thoughtware from. Maybe they once read a book about someone who they really wanted to be….or maybe it’s just like ten bullet points they have pinned on a map somewhere in their head where they have to go here first, then there and so on and so forth…like I said, I don’t know.

My point is they try too darn hard to be someone who they’re obvious not or will never be – and that’s just a way of saying they will always miss the mark.

As for me I am just really striving to be comfortable – and the most effortless way that I know how to accomplish this efficiently without draining my batteries is to simply be myself – it took me many years to be comfortable in my own skin….it didn’t come naturally to me. Not at first. As the world is always trying to plant a flag on one’s head to tell you this is the only….best…fastest way. But I guess being able to work most of the time alone and running my own enterprise provides me with plenty of opportunities to get to know myself and even come to terms with what I can and cannot deliver to others – having said all that I can’t emphasize the importance of being able to sell yourself first….I am referring to the persona…not the plastic version of how you want the rest of the world to see you. After all no amount of personal marketing is ever going to alter the fact that if you’re basically a two question person – then it is what it is – see my point. One can really only be who one really is and no more…stretch that idea further and I think you’re in deep waters…especially if you’re talking to a ten question person…he’s going to grill you and by the time he’s finished with you…you’re shredded and so is the deal….it’s gone with the wind. As you didn’t bother with the most important part – sell yourself first….then and only then do you sell what you can offer.’

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