I feel oddly giddy when I discover a new word, especially when it sums up something so perfectly.*
My latest find is insouciance, pronounced in-soo-see-uhns. (See—it’s even fun to say, isn’t it?)
This noun describes a casual lack of concern or indifference or having a cheerful feeling with no worries.
(Plus, it’s fancy without being over the top. Kinda like if “whatevs” swapped its sweatpants for jeans.)
For example: I admire my teenager’s insouciance at the growing pile of laundry on her bedroom floor.
Or maybe: I look forward to a pandemic-free world when I can travel the globe with only a carry-on and an incredible amount of insouciance. (No joke, that one is my dream!)
The truth is, we all could use a little more insouciance in our lives, amirite?
But one way you’re definitely NOT adding insouciance to the lives of your coworkers, partners, and clients?
When you make it hard to work with you.
What’s worse is that you may be doing this unintentionally.
(Are you worried now? Oh no! Worry and insouciance DO. NOT. MIX.)
Never fear; here are five ways you’ll know you’re making it hard to work with you—and how to fix it:
1️⃣ You’re negative
Those who lead with positivity help others feel more relaxed in their presence, making them more receptive to them and their ideas. Smiling signals that you’re approachable and kind, making you appear more likable, confident, and trustworthy.
2️⃣ You’re closed-minded
See new ideas not as threats but as opportunities for growth and learning. When you’re curious, receptive to, and tolerant of new ideas and people, that openness fosters connection.
3️⃣ You’re an enigma (and not in a mysterious, cool way)
When you’re clear, people understand you, what you offer, your value, what differentiates you, how you can help them and how they can assist you. Clarity helps others know, like, and trust you.
4️⃣ You wing it—a lot
Time management is about prioritizing those things that matter most. Eliminate distractions and tasks that don’t serve your larger goal. Being intentional with your time helps you be more prepared.
5️⃣ You’re oblivious
Honing your powers of observation is essential for increasing your awareness, and that’s nearly impossible to do when you’re multitasking. Put down your phone, give people your undivided attention, and listen to understand, not respond.
You know what else can be difficult?
(And no, simple and easy are most certainly NOT the same thing.)
In my latest Forbes article, I explain the subtle difference between the two and share why simple isn’t always easy, but it’s worth it for your career.
And before I go, tell me: What provides you with a heightened level of insouciance? Let me know in the comments or by clicking this button.
P.S. First time here? Welcome, newbie! Be sure to check out the archives to catch up on previous issues.
P.P.S. When I’m not writing this newsletter or on a quest for abundant insouciance, I’m a social media ghostwriter (yep, that’s a thing), helping founders, entrepreneurs, and CXOs craft their stories to communicate and connect better by magnifying their reach and impact. (Think personal branding and thought leadership.) Learn more here.
P.P.P.S.S. One more thing: You have great taste in newsletters—thanks for subscribing! Feel free to share this one with your friends. Or better yet, invite them to join our Illuminate Me tribe!
*One such word is hygge, which refers to a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being. Just typing this makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. And apparently, we have the Danish thank for it. The Danes regard hygge as a defining characteristic of their culture. (Mental note: Google flights to Denmark ASAP.)