I almost chickened out.
“It’s rude to interrupt a stranger and ask them silly questions.”
Furthermore, what if they looked at me like I was an idiot?
Not feeling very confident at all, I randomly asked a stranger at a bus stop to give me a compliment.
During this experience, I discovered something powerful:
The thought of doing something is often scarier in your mind than it actually is in reality.
I had asked for directions from strangers countless times before in my life, but asking for a compliment was somehow scaring the crap out of me.
I stopped my negative mental B.S. and thought “you know what, this does not need to be delayed”
I set the intention that I would find a stranger to ask a compliment from on my afternoon bike ride. I hadn’t been on the bike for a month, but I was determined to do it.
First, I jumped on my bike and went on my ride.
I stopped in front of a stranger at a bus stop, and asked the stranger nervously…
“Could you say something nice about me?”
They looked uncomfortable. (Who wouldn’t be in that position, right?)
As if reading her mind I said “yes I know it’s weird” and laughed.
I quickly followed with “just one nice compliment?”
By acknowledging the awkwardness of the request I could see that it gave the other person permission to feel the way they did and stay in the conversation, and not feel threatened.
“She then looked at me and said “”Well I guess you’re nice…”
I excitedly responded “There you go! Awesome!”
I extended my hand and said “Hi five!” and she gave me a hi-five. She even laughed.
I’ve since applied this process of being aware and acknowledging the awkwardness or tension, my own or the other person’s, in a given moment many more times since then.
It’s how I connect with CEOs, directors and creative individuals at a deeper level, and am able to lead a 270-person community.
If you’re wondering how to develop your ability to lead powerfully, then ask yourself:
“Do I run away from discomfort, or do I acknowledge it openly?”
Then go out and ask a stranger to give you a compliment.
Trust me, it might just change your life (like it has mine).