Make Yourself Irresistible at Work

By Lisa Lane Brown

Years ago, a sports reporter accosted golf legend Jack Nicklaus and told him that golf was primarily a game of luck, not skill. Jack said, “Yeah, and the funny thing is, the more I practice, the luckier I get.”

Work relationships are just like golf: the more skilled we are, the more successful we are. Imagine if you could make yourself completely irresistible to coworkers, clients and your boss. This is entirely possible, if you take Nicklaus’ advice and practice your skills - especially the secret skill of magnetic attraction that governs all relationships.

Remember Pavlov’s dogs? The dog is trained to associate a bell with food, so whenever a bell rings, he salivates and comes running. Well, unknown to you, the people in your life are trained to have involuntary reactions to certain magnetic attraction principles. All you need to do is communicate according to these principles, and people will respond by offering you respect, support and admiration.

This is exciting; it means you never have to secretly fear rejection at work. By learning these principles, you can be successful with anyone, including people who may have ignored or disrespected you in the past. People don’t gravitate toward you because of your qualities, personality or character. They gravitate toward you based on how they feel in your presence. This is why you can be madly in love with a person one day and divorce the very same person five years later.

The reason we don't know how to make ourselves irresistible at work is because it’s the opposite of what we've been taught. Most of us believe when we are not getting the respect we deserve, we should be extra nice, thoughtful and giving. These are wonderful qualities, but they are rarely the key to getting respect or appreciation from someone who is withholding it from you.

The “Circle.” A simple metaphor explains the secret magnetic attraction principle to making yourself irresistible. It’s called The Circle. Take out a piece of paper and draw a circle in it. Then, put the initials of the person you’re seeking respect from in the middle of the circle. Now, put your own initials outside the circle. This model shows you what a successful relationship looks like.

When you are inside another person’s circle, he has trouble connecting with his respect and appreciation for you. In the extreme, he may even develop contempt for you. When you are outside his circle, he appreciates you. He is attentive and supportive. He goes out of his way to listen to your viewpoint. This is why staying outside the circle is the key magnetic attraction principle to making yourself irresistible.

How You Get Inside The Circle. We all get inside someone else’s circle from time to time - it’s natural. You do this when you use your connection with him or her to gain energy or self-esteem. When you lean on a person psychologically like this, you violate a basic rule of attraction between people: Any person pursued runs away. Sometimes, we lean in obvious ways at work. Can you spot yourself in these examples?

  • You socialize too often, not noticing the other person is busy.

  • You talk too much, especially about yourself.

  • You ask for unnecessary assurance about your skills or performance.

  • You ask the other person to weigh in on tiny decisions you should be making; this unconsciously transfers the stress of your job to the other person.

  • You act overly bossy or controlling, micro managing others and checking up on them constantly. This behavior causes the person to under-function and withdraw effort because you are over-functioning on his or her behalf.

  • You act victimized or lay guilt trips: “Nobody understands the stress I’m under.”

  • You complain and criticize others without noticing: “This Web site isn’t dynamic enough; it will never catch on.”

Psychological Leaning Repels Others. When you psychologically lean on people, you suffocate them because you force them to take on the burden of your feelings and stress - when they’d much rather focus on their own.

Of course, we all lean psychologically from time to time. But, if you want to make yourself irresistible, you must get outside the circle. Here are three action steps you can take:

1. Stop Pursuing Immediately. The quickest and easiest way to get outside the circle is to stop pursuing the other person for respect and approval. Stop pursuing him in your behavior and in your heart. Don’t be hostile, however. You can be responsive and friendly. You simply stop pursuing, which means you don’t initiate contact other than to coordinate work. Return calls and e-mails, but keep the contact brief, and never over-talk. Do not ask for assurance about your decisions or performance. Eventually, when the relationship balances out, you can pursue and socialize again - but even then, socialize once for every three times he contacts you.

2. Stop Pressuring Him for Support. When you want a co-worker or boss to show more support in the form of listening or help, this creates tension in the relationship. There is stress because both people want different things. Both people think they are right, and both want to be in control. Everyone is stubborn when it comes to relationships. We all want our way. This is natural, but simply self-defeating when you’re trying to get ‘more’ from a person. If you ease off, and appreciate what he is giving, he’ll be more likely to give more. At the very least, you’ll be able to find out why he wasn’t being more supportive.

3. Stop Complaining and Criticizing. The final step is to stop complaining or criticizing. Why? Because when you complain or criticize, he stops seeing his behavior as the problem and starts seeing your complaining as the problem.

When you complain, you’re actually trying to make a request - but you’re so pessimistic that you attack the other person instead of simply asking for what you want. For example, let’s say you want your boss to share information - but instead of asking for it, you say, “I never get updates on that project.” This aggressive form of communication repels people.

Rejection and frustration are like a hot potato. We feel hurt, we don’t know what to do with our hurt, and it feels unbearable. So we criticize others as a way of throwing them the hot potato. It’s like you are saying, ‘Here, you have the hurt. I can’t handle it anymore.’”

Instead of complaining, make requests in a low-key, laid back way, such as: “Can you please e-mail me last week’s report on that project?” Your co-worker or boss will appreciate your direct approach, and you’ll feel proud of yourself for being more effective.

The beauty of the circle is that you can always jump outside it and become irresistible again, just by following these three simple steps.

Read other articles and learn more about Lisa Lane Brown.

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