That’s been one of the hardest things for me to overcome…the realization that someone is going to take my picture. When it first happened I wanted to stop them. It was one of my kids playing with my iPad. I wanted to tell them to wait until after I had gotten better. There had to be something in them that didn’t care about my appearance. I couldn’t believe it. They didn’t “like” me for the shell, but for the inside.
When I was at the Barrow Institute in Phoenix, they made me take a picture as part of admittance. I was right after a young man in his late 20’s. He was a construction worker there with his dad. His eye-sight had just left him that morning. His dad was on the phone with employers and relatives. I just remember him sitting with his head held low. He was terrified. Connie even commented on how rough his situation looked. His name was called and his picture was taken while he stood there in misery. That was the last we ever saw of him.
My turn. Should I look the same way? I felt the same way. It was the day before brain surgery for crying out loud. “Stand in front of the camera, sir”. There must be something in my genes, because when I heard camera the teeth came out. People always said that I have a Wagner smile. That’s a compliment in a BIG sort of way. You have to realize that I can’t even see the camera, unless I were to tilt my head back. I just knew there was one.
We took a trip to Cancun in December, 2010. At the end of the trip we all had pictures taken. One of them was taken as a group. Pat & Julie Luther, Steve & Chris Farmer and Connie & me. Steve said that we should all stand in a line, shoulder-to-shoulder with our arms crossed, and look expressionless. The negatives came back and there I was, grinning from ear-to-ear. That is the only expression that I have. Farmer found that to be funny.
In sales you’re taught to walk and talk with confidence. You always know more about your product than your customers do, so why shouldn’t you. That’s the same approach that I take with my meetings. They always start with a smile and a handshake (even when I miss the hand :-)). Then there’s always the casual chit-chat. Most of my customers are also my friends. But, my mood shouldn’t matter. I don’t want distractions to the meeting, because it’s not about me. If they want to know about how I’m doing, they will ask. Otherwise, let’s talk about business. I don’t want my appearance to become a distraction. Understanding that I am a bit of a science project, I’m always happy to answer the question at hand.
Once they had taken the first picture it became easier. It’s been more than seven months and the shell hasn’t changed that much. It’s been 44 years and I’m still the same person, on the inside. CHEESE!