Being Seen

Love songs. Romantic comedies. Dramas. Theatrical shows. Fables and fairytales. If done well, they grab our attention, and don’t let go. We want to see how they play out. And how the relationships inside them unfold.

Because it all comes down to relationships.

And relationships are all about needs, and whether or not those needs are met.

Business is essentially about money. But the most successful business people know that while money is the easiest aspect to measure — the scoreboard — in order to put up consistent points, you need to create and nurture relationships. Whether it’s a one-off sale, or a partnership that lasts for decades, if the needs on both sides are not met, it just doesn’t work.

So this morning, let’s take a look at one of the deepest, most fundamental needs there is in the entire human condition.


In the 1960’s, a psychoanalyst named D.W. Winnicott wrote an article in which he further developed a concept called “the mirror phase.” Essentially, in early infancy, our first “mirror,” is typically the face of our mother… her expression as she gazes back at us. It helps us sort out and begin to define who we are.

Even and especially as adults, when we look into someone’s eyes, we can feel loved, or hated, dismissed or understood.

This powerful experience can bring us into contact with the echo of infancy. But what’s most important to take away from this, is that the way we respond to people… how present we are, whether or not we create the space to really listen to them, and the expressions we offer, can have a major impact on their response to us.

So you can imagine how in the realm of business, if we want someone to buy, we better be keyed in. Not just waiting for our next opportunity to speak or take up space.

Our focus and attention should be with them, not on our own performance. Remember, people won’t remember every detail of what we say. But they will absolutely remember how we made them feel. And that feeling gets placed right in our file.

We humans are pack animals. We crave acceptance and have a strong desire for belonging.

Every time you engage in a one on one conversation (and in a group as well), be aware of the attention you are or are not providing.

It is essential in creating the kind of impression we all want to make.

It’ll make you a better business person because ultimately it will make you a better person.

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