Not "Most Likely to Succeed"


When I was in my first quarter at college, I made a lot of friends in my dorm. We were there for the summer quarter, and we became a tight-knit bunch. 

At the end of the quarter, we had this dorm party, with a make-shift awards ceremony, and somehow, this sub-committee had put together all these awards… so they started with the obvious ones…“most likely to succeed” and “best smile” and “most likely to get a high-paying job”

I remember listening to the awards and laughing with everyone else, and not thinking for a moment that any such award would be bestowed upon me. 

But the awards went on and at some point, they got to the bottom of the stack, and called my name, “Claire… Most Approachable” 

That’s the award I won… “Most Approachable” 

I remember being embarrassed. 

  • I wasn’t most likely to succeed, 
  • I wasn’t the person awarded, “best smile” or “friendliest” 
  • I didn't get any of the standard “Best of” awards 

I was at the bottom of the stack and it felt like that committee must have been digging deep to find a title so that everyone would get one… 

But here’s the thing- all these years later, I actually see it as a real compliment. 

I guess, what that committee was seeing in me, was that you could talk to me...I was interested in you… and if you approached me, I’d be friendly. 

So now I’m proud of that award because I know how important approachability is for building trust. 

I hear this all the time from my clients. 

They’ll say, “I just can’t approach her. She always looks angry.” 

Or, “how do I even deal with someone who won’t even look at me and smile?”

It’s the small gestures and facial expressions that add up to “approachable” and that send the message that says, “you can talk to me.” 

So- reflect for a moment… 

What messages are you sending to the world with your facial expression and your demeanor? 

Are you open to others? Or closed?

Are you friend or foe? 

We read energy, mood, and expression, and we pay attentionfar more than we pay attention to words. 

To this week, my challenge for you is to be very conscientious about the “vibe” you are sending to the world. 

Work for it… try to win that “most approachable” award with your peers at work, and see what changes. 

If you put more effort and energy into being friendly and open, what good things might happen? 

I’d love to hear about your experiences with this, so leave me a comment or send me a reply.

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