Downtown San Diego. Gas Lamp District. Sunday. 3:40pm. About 4 beers in.
The city is bustling with people: NFL fans falling out of bars, roller skaters whizzing by and the oh so familiar sound of Japanese Tourists snapping their cameras. Sun is shining and the sea breeze makes everything almost perfect.
I’m down here visiting for my cousins wedding; it’s the day after the big day and we’ve just left my extended family in Joltin’ Joes bar watching the second round of the Football games. Myself and two other cousins also visiting from England decide to take a stroll and find our way down to the promenade to look at the bay.
There’s one problem with our idea though; there are about four of the cities more prestigious hotels standing between us, and the prom. Now, we’re English and we’ve had a few beers, so walking around them is definitely not an option. So, we do the next best thing. We decide to pick a hotel and sneak through it on to the other side.
This isn’t Vegas. The hotels aren’t a mile wide and designed for you to get lost in for up to a week. This is San Diego, unless you’re a guest or renting a function room – they don’t want you there. Never mind walking through the hotel lobby, cutting through tables in two of their restaurants, waltzing through their members lounge, past their private pool – and out of the other side of the hotel, on to the promenade.
And, well, that’s what we did.
Okay, so we didn’t exactly pull of a bank heist. There will be no Ocean’s films based on what we did, and my long-standing dream of being played by Matt Damon in a motion picture is most likely not going to be fulfilled. But still, we shouldn’t have been there, we shouldn’t have done it, and we did it anyway.
The lesson in this tale though is not just in the fact we skirted through a hotel undetected, but it’s in what my cousin told me 2 minutes prior to us going in.
‘When you’re somewhere you feel you shouldn’t be, just act like you own the place.’
Or, to put it like the ‘Unofficial Goldman Sachs Guide to being a Man’ puts it;
‘Act like you’ve been there before. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the end zone at the Super Bowl or on a private plane.’
The fact that we acted like we were supposed to be there, like we belonged, nobody asked us any questions or gave us a second glance. We were part of what was going on, and our presence was just a matter of course.
The same can be applied to a lot of situations we find ourselves in. Job interviews we feel completely under qualified for. On dates where you feel completely inferior to the gleaming beauty sat across from the table and when you’re writing a blog post you’re not sure that’ll be received just that well.
Act like you’ve done it all before. Like this is your day to day, your bread and butter. Even if it’s not.
The more comfortable you look and the more relaxed you feel, the smoother everything goes. The beauty is that the other person will ever be any the wiser.
Practice: Go and find something you feel completely out of place doing. Playing a new sport, pitching and idea to someone above your level at work or getting the phone number of the hottest person in the club. Go and do it, and act like you’ve done it a million times. You’ll be very surprised at the results you’ll get.
Or, if you’re feeling really ambitious you could take a leaf out of Karl Power’s book and walk in to the team photo of one of the worlds largest Soccer (football) teams; in a semi-final of one of the worlds biggest tournaments, on the field, right before kick off. As you do.