Gini Dietrich

Live the Golden Rule

By: Gini Dietrich | July 21, 2010 | 

I first published this on Sarah Robinson’s blog, Escaping Mediocrity. So if you read it there last week, you won’t learn anything new by reading it here today. But, by all means, don’t be shy about leaving a comment!

On June 30,  Matt Lauer had  Elizabeth Edwards onThe Today Show to talk about life, family, her revised book as it comes out in paperback, criticism she’s received, and what she thinks about her ex-husband’s love child. Before seeing her interview, I’m not sure I would have been able to clearly articulate what creating irresistible presence really means. And then I watched her, with complete fascination and respect, as she answered tough, tough questions with confidence, class, and ease.

When asked if she regrets having married  John Edwards, she said things didn’t turn out the way she would have hoped, but she didn’t regret her marriage. When asked about the criticism she received from the Edwards campaign office, she said didn’t realize the staff didn’t see her as an equal, but as the candidate’s wife, which put her on a lower playing field.

She also said knowing how she is perceived, as much as she wants people to like her, is really helpful in her own personal growth. When asked how she was feeling, she commented she’s on a new chemotherapy regimen and she hopes, the next time she is on television, it’s to talk about one of her passions. Not once did she badmouth the campaign staff, her ex-husband, or his mistress.

At the end of the interview, I posted on Facebook that I can only hope I am as humble and classy as she is, especially when confronted with conflict.  No matter what your politics, what you think about what she may or may have not known during the campaign, or what you think of the scandal, it’s pretty difficult not to respect and admire the way she has created an irresistible presence.

Creating Your Irresistible Presence

We live in a day and age that almost anyone can become a seemingly overnight sensation. With reality shows, social networking, self-publishing, blogging, and Internet radio and TV, the playing field is level and we have the opportunity to build ourselves into experts around our passions. With that come ego boosts and a heightened sense of ability, plus conflict and confrontation. It also comes with an immense amount of responsibility: A responsibility to ourselves, to our families, to our friends, to our colleagues, to our clients, to our competition, and even to our nemeses.

Our responsibility is to be our authentic selves without compromising our values. Yet many of us are scared to be human, to show our weaknesses and our flaws.  It’s scary…being yourself, especially if (like Elizabeth Edwards and me, too) you have a need to be liked.

I genuinely care about what people think of me and it really hurts my feelings when someone who doesn’t know me talks badly about me off- or online. But I am 100 percent true to myself and to my values and, though my feelings get hurt, that helps me focus on the positive relationships in my life.

And that is what creating your irresistible presence is all about. For me, it’s important I help others, I pay it forward as often as I can, I recognize the strengths in my network, I pump up people, I acknowledge everyone who comes into my world, and I never get too big for my britches.

How I do those things is pretty simple:

  • I am overly obsessed at answering every email I receive;
  • I respond to every tweet myself;
  • I read and comment on other’s blogs;
  • I respond to all of the comments on our blog;
  • I recommend people, blogs, and books I love;
  • I go out of my way to find one thing I have in common with people who pop into my online world;
  • I never say no (which I don’t recommend!); and
  • I recognize people publicly and privately consistently.

We are always eager to help those who have helped us without asking for anything in return. I’m a big believer in treating people the way you want to be treated and, if you do, you soon will emulate Elizabeth Edwards with a classy, humble, confident, easy presence others find completely irresistible.

P.S. If you’d like to see tidbits of the Elizabeth Edwards interview, you can see it on  The Young Turks.

What do you do every day to live the Golden Rule?

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • Gini-
    As someone who has connected with you via one of those emails/tweets, I say thank you for not saying no! Your focus on the importance of paying it forward should be commended, especially when life gets hectic. I’m working to do the same with up and coming PR stars, aka students. I know I may only be a few steps ahead of them, but I am so willing to share what I’ve picked up along the way. It’s how I’ve met a lot of great people through tweets, posts and phone/Skype chats.

    Great post!

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  • I haven’t made it a *daily* habit yet, but I like sending paper thank-you notes. It’s especially important with volunteers and networking activities. As I’ve written, “Saying ‘Thank You’ is Free”:

  • Gini,

    Thank you for a post that brightened my day. Everyone now a days is talking about differentiators. In the social media arena there is a lot of noise and bustle as people vie for mind-share.The example you gave of Elizabeth Edwards is particularly poignant and there are others (although I wish there were more) where a single and pure character trait shines through above the noise in cyberspace. This is truly the differentiator in each of us and being able to share that trait, as Elizabeth did with you, I feel is a primary key to building meaningful relationships both online and offline.
    Thanks again for a great post.

  • This was an excellent read. Thanks.

  • After reading your post, what I really liked most was the concept of “creating your irresistible presence”, which could include any of the positive ways someone can behave ideally with ourselves and would be reflected in any one else.

  • I take a couple five minute breaks throughout the day to stand up breathe and remember those little annoying things my mother used to say “be kind, talk slowly, and always listen before you speak.” It’s amazing how that little phrase has the ability to calm me down and get all the crap that builds up in your head out of the way, if only for a minute.
    Thanks Gini for the great post! Always love reading them.

  • Hi Gini,

    Great article. I really like your style. What I appreciate most about this particular article is that you not only recapped the interview but you also tied it in with suggestions for us, and you showed us how it applies to you.

    Great job!

  • I absolutely love this, Gini! When you boil this post down, it’s about focusing on the positives about people and situations and treating everyone as an equal.

    It’s difficult to maintain that type of stance day in and day out without allowing the world to wear you down, but I do my best to follow those tenets as often as possible.

    You do an amazing job at it, and it’s no wonder that so many people gravitate toward you. You are a tremendous example for us all.

    (Sorry for the big time cheesiness of this comment, but, hey, it’s true.)

  • I think you are really onto something, especially as it relates to being authentic. If we stay within our own integrity we may get criticized but more than not life is much easier and more fun–something I want more of in my life. Nice post. Thanks.

  • It’s one thing to speak the words but I can tell you from personal experience that Gini is walking the talk.

  • Nancy Cawley Jean

    Gini, your posts never fail to amaze or inspire me or teach me something… you are not kidding when you say you pay it forward, and I, for one, can’t thank you enough. In my humble opinion, you truly have created an irristable presence, but the best thing is, it’s a genuine representation of who you are. 😉

  • There is a chunk in the middle that is exactly me. Thank you for putting it out there. And yes, there is a fear of vulnerability that often inhibits us.

    “Our responsibility is to be our authentic selves without compromising our values. Yet many of us are scared to be human, to show our weaknesses and our flaws. It’s scary…being yourself, especially if (like Elizabeth Edwards and me, too) you have a need to be liked.

    I genuinely care about what people think of me and it really hurts my feelings when someone who doesn’t know me talks badly about me off- or online. But I am 100 percent true to myself and to my values and, though my feelings get hurt, that helps me focus on the positive relationships in my life.”

    I believe that exposing the “authentic self” in an eloquent way, is the challenge for most. Many haven’t learned how to feel at ease with others, which inhibits appearing easy going, when they might actually be easy going about everything else that would make them likable. That lack of self confidence is a large problem. I think that’s where it needs to start: liking oneself; feeling good about yourself.

    Love yourself. It builds a lot of confidence.

  • Hi Gini,
    I read this first thing this morning and it was such an inspiration.
    Being true to yourself is the first part of being able to share the love with others.
    At the risk of getting all Buddhist on you, I (seriously – I’m not about to kid with you) start my day off, before i even open my eyes, with a big joyous smile. Sometimes I feel it and sometimes I don’t, but I force myself to make that smile. It’s amazing what it does to start off on a positive note, and to radiate that presence.
    So there you have it.

  • Karl, I love sending paper thank you notes! It’s actually part of our work culture – with clients, prospects, reporters, new hires, employees on anniversaries, etc. Love that idea!

    Dan, it truly is about treating others the way you want to be treated. I’m glad you could see the point I was making between EE and being true to ourselves.

    Jared, you are very welcome!

    Marcela, so true! If you always behave in a positive way, don’t you think others will do the same for you? Bravo!

    Whitney, your mom is a smart woman (and I love your name)!

    Del, thanks! And great seeing you here!

    Dan, cheese away…I feel the exact same about you!

    John, woo hoo!! You blog a lot about living authentically and creating work/life balance. It’s nice to see you here commenting on the same topic.

    Mike, I am a HUGE fan of yours! For those of you who don’t know Mike, check him out. He writes a blog that is raw, funny, honest, and transparent. It’s so good!

    Nancy, I’m glad to see the check from my mom arrived! 🙂 Thank you!