Dishwater Eyes: A Dead Give-Away

Eyes speak louder than words, if anyone’s looking.

In my weekly newsletter, Packets and Pauses, about communication and presentations, I’ve been talking a lot about eye contact. How important it is, how to use it, how we screw it up.

Recently, I had lunch with Some One who has an even bigger eye problem than the typical presenter. Neither a kid nor old foggy, Mr. One has a classic mid-career problem: Mr. One has nipped at the heels of finding professional success to match his heart’s desires. He’s not there where he thinks he should be. At the very least, he’s frustrated, a point he clearly communicated to me. My stronger guess is that he’s mad as hell about it. Disappointed with life, his eyes reek of sadness. They are as dull as dishwater.

In spite of many laudable accomplishments, Mr. One sets himself up for more disappointment and even failure by not understanding the importance of re-connecting with his heart.  What Mr. One doesn’t realize is that the eyes radiate energy-or the lack of it. People we encounter on a daily bases unconsciously interpret us as jazzed or struggling. In the professional world, potential clients and colleagues are attracted to jazzed and repelled by perceived pessimism.

Since my meeting with Mr. One was about a subject unrelated to executive advice, I had to bite my tongue. It is hard when you see someone talented, attractive, and intelligent in a rut that could ruin the rest of his life, knowing that a little insight in the right direction and a few skills Mr. One is completely unaware of could make a world of difference….. I understand, since once I almost was in Mr. One’s shoes. My eyes were losing their blue sparkle. I was “saved” by my incessant curiosity and learned how to get out of the rut, tools that changed everything and that I now share with my executive coaching clients and in the speeches I give.  But I wasn’t asked for my advice, and this bleeding bitten tongue of mine will heal.