What Does 'You Look Successful!' Mean

I had a unique happening this week … I was at a cocktail party in the west village of NYC; theater types. and a gentlemen .. stranger to me .. came over and introduced himself. He asked me — what do you do. And then he said .. I knew it .. you just LOOK SUCCESSFUL. I said what does that mean? he says … can’t explain it, but I know it when I see it.

i checked myself out .. I was wearing an LBD (little black dress) my new favorite sandals, the ones that hide the bunions (TMI); my hair had been blown out by a stylist the day before, I was dog tired from a long nite .. but somehow he got this image. So for the rest of the week I have been quizzing people about … what makes someone “LOOK” successful. I got a wide variety of answers… from the cosmetic … good hair, fresh makeup, expensive accessories … to the psychoanalytic … an aura, a feeling one gives off …to body language … straight posture, firm handshake, smiling face, curious expressions, eye contact … to what I refer to as content … interesting or insightful conversation, asking lots of questions, being engaged.

But this man made a judgement before I opened my mouth. And therein lies a key to what I preach in my training. Our innate ability to size up body language has us making judgements from a quick glance at someone. It makes sense .. after all man has been walking on the earth for a couple million years .. we’ve had a spoken language for only 160,000. So why shouldn’t we rely on our primal instincts to give us information about a stranger. I think its why people say — trust your gut. Those instincts saved us from death back in the stone ages. Today they may save us from embarrassment or stupidity. But I also fear those judgements may cloud our ability to make new friends, overlook someone who’s just having a bad day, or not give people a chance. So — trust your gut; always let your body language speak good things about YOU. And then gracefully demonstrate a more evolved mankind — where we don’t let that first impression be the lasting one.

By the way — I’d still like to know what YOU think is the look of success.