My Greatest Lesson: Never judge a book by its cover

Marina Fernandez Julian shares why it’s important to look beyond the façade in business.

Many years ago, when I was working in a clothing store a woman came in who looked like a beggar. She was unkempt, you could see the filth on her clothes and smell the pungent aroma that clung to her. She seemed homeless. Penniless. As a result, in this commission-driven shop, none of my colleagues approached her, she simply wasn’t of interest.

I did. And I remember the look on my colleagues’ faces when that same woman purchased £2,000 worth of clothes. That incident has stuck with me ever since. Because in that moment it became completely clear to me that there’s always more than meets the eye.

Put judgment to one side

In business, you have to put your judgment to one side, because you don’t know on first impressions who a person really is.

I’ve been on both sides of the story. I’ve been the person wearing a fancy watch and an expensive handbag and experienced first-hand how people change and respond – you’re suddenly a person of interest. I’ve also been the person with nothing to their name, and know-how that feels too.

The challenge with making these judgments is that you lose trust – people can see what you want, and it’s their money. And in putting your judgment before curiosity, you miss a world of possibilities.

When you chase profit, you might make a lot of money to begin with, but if that money dries up, what do you have left? It’s the relationships that we build that create sustainability and drive momentum. You can only build relationships by placing curiosity before judgment.

Look beyond the facade

By building relationships, I don’t have to hustle or spend energy chasing leads. Instead, I spend that energy getting ready for my clients, advancing my skills so that when they come to me, I can serve them better.

In my work as a life coach I look beyond the façade, the armour that we all wear, to really get to know the person. When someone meets me for the first time and says ‘I’m a CEO’ or ‘I’m a company director’ I say, ‘Let’s start again – who are you?’ I meet their energy, I hold their hand and try to understand what they’re not telling me. That’s where the gift is that I can help them.

I empower people to connect with their emotional intelligence and to always live in curiosity, thinking ‘What’s the lesson here?’ Because bumps in the road happen to all of us, and we all have unique life experiences, none are better or worse than any other. The answer is to keep moving forward and you’ll find your zest for life.





About the Author

Marina Fernandes Julian

Marina Fernandes Julian

Owner, Marina Zest for Life

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