How to be a People Person, by Lara Cullen
Be Kind Be Brave Be Brilliant

Eoin Meegan

This is a new book by Irish/Spanish entrepreneur and life coach Lara Cullen with the snappy format to be kind, be brave, be brilliant. The author breaks these ideas into their individual components, examining each separately, as well as how they work together in an integrative whole. For example, being compassionate falls within the ambit of kindness, as does wellbeing, having a sense of belonging, and resilience. While being brave encompasses ‘get real’, bold, curious and purposeful. Finally, being brilliant contains such surprises as being a student (of life) confident, ‘be-coming’, and to be a beacon for others. The book drills down into the munitia of all these modalities, like the uneasy dynamic between being ‘nice’ and being ‘kind’, the first having a proclivity towards people-pleasing and trampling over boundaries. There is a lot to absorb, such as the adage “not to shoot the second arrow” (an ancient Buddhist concept) which basically means not to beat yourself up when things go wrong. We can’t always avoid the first arrow. Stuff happens. But we have a choice as to whether to shoot the second arrow or not. Real confidence is composed of (self) compassion plus courageous action, plus (self) acceptance.

If you do the work, argues Lara, you will become a more compassionate, happier, and more balanced person. Confidence is not an end product, but rather a spectrum. Personally I wouldn’t be confident piloting a 747, but to put it in Lara’s words: “I can’t fly an aeroplane…yet.” The book teaches that our true power lies not in what we can do or what we have, but in our potential, how far we are willing to move ourselves along the spectrum. Skills we do not have we can acquire, experiences we shy away from we can still embrace. Too much self development separates out positive from negative, always making the latter wrong. But when North is created on a magnet South simultaneously comes into existence. Dualistic concepts such as hot/cold, up/down, east/west always coexist with their polar opposite. We don’t need to make one better than the other. Not only is it okay, but necessary, to acknowledge what we can’t do. Just remember to add yet.

How to be a People Person, by Lara Cullen is published by SRA books (2021) and available on amazon and in some Dublin bookshops.