A “Sound Matter Moment”
Successful people understand the importance of paying close attention to details; to instructions; to the specific requests and desires of others when asked, and when applicable. They know when and how to… follow directions. Not blindly, but with and for a specific purpose.
This is especially important if you want something from someone else. This requires listening carefully to their preferences on how they want what they want from you. It may be different from what you want at the time, but that doesn’t matter at that moment…
For example, while on a job search, failing to properly submit cover letters and customized resumes per the company’s specific requests, will compromise your application before it’s even considered. If you make a follow-up phone call when the instructions say: “No phone calls please,” you’re all done before you even begin. Or, if you’re a musician perhaps… failing to simply listen to, and follow the preferences and expectations of venues, promoters, sound and lighting engineers, or even other acts you work with can be enough to brand you as difficult, and therefore easy to pass over next time… So simple, so subtle, yet so skipped-over so many times, in my experience as a communications consultant and hiring manager for several large and small organizations over the years.
“People, like sheep, tend to follow a leader – occasionally in the right direction.” ~ Alexander Chase
Successfully following directions sends a message to others that you’re competent, and attentive, and a player (figuratively speaking)… someone worth having on their team. It’s subconscious influence and covert persuasion at its finest. And it’s a form of effective marketing (of yourself), something everyone needs to be good at ongoing… But, overlooking this indicates a lack of attention to detail, disorganization perhaps, or just plain apathy on your part. When that happens: Strike Three, you’re out. Initial perceptions are extremely powerful and lasting in our attention-deficit society.
Everything starts with active listening. You can’t just hear, you’ve got to beyond hearing and really work to listen to what others are saying, and not saying. This requires us to get out of ourselves momentarily, and lean into others. It’s selfless, and runs counter to human nature’s selfish, self-centered tendencies.
Make a decision to follow directions, follow the rules… within reason of course. Now, I’ve never been an advocate of the “sheep mentality;” I appreciate people who have an independent spirit… I’m one of them. But I also recognize the times when I will need to follow through… to break on through…