At first, AoC Bootcamp alumnus Andrew Smith didn’t consider himself a “typical” candidate for the program. He was the oldest in his class by ten years and newly separated. But as we see in this Profile of Success, sharing a growth mindset is all it takes for classmates to relate and take the journey together. [Main image is an artist’s approximation of how a nineteenth-century Andrew Smith might have appeared.]
Our new Profiles of Success series highlights the stories of the men and women who attend our AoC Bootcamp or our other programs. Sometimes we forget just how life-changing our courses can be. These stories remind us and, we hope, will inform and inspire you.
“AoC helped me realize what my true potential could be, and that there is an identifiable and executable way to achieve it,” -Andrew Smith
No More Excuses
In April of 2016, Andrew Smith was going through a separation from his wife. He had been listening to The Art of Charm Podcast and eventually found his way to our website and the description of Bootcamp. He realized that it was exactly what he needed, as it addressed many skills he was missing. Still troubled by the pending separation, he put it on his “to do after” list. But as summer arrived, he found himself still thinking about the program and realized all of his excuses fell flat. He had the time, the money, and definitely the desire. He reached back out to us and started the interview and screening process for Bootcamp.
Some time later he found himself in Los Angeles with a group of strangers, ready to change his life. His family and friends were surprised that he had chosen to do so. Andrew noted, “When you tell people about Bootcamp, you find out who really wants you to be the best you can be, and who is comfortable with the current version of you.”
That new, best Andrew was going to smile a lot more, as he found out on day one of Bootcamp. He had always thought of himself as an intelligent and analytical person but didn’t realize how serious and uptight he appeared when approaching people, be they colleagues or strangers. “My smiling muscles were almost non-existent,” he confessed, and immediately he became conscious and aware of how and when he was smiling.
Surrounded by Future Brothers
Andrew was the oldest in his Bootcamp class by ten years, and was twenty-four years older than the youngest in the class. That first night, he wondered if he would be able to fit in with the group. While he naturally gravitated towards the two in class that were closer to his age, he found he was able to relate to all his classmates for the simple reason that they all had a growth mindset and had, like him, made a significant investment to be there. That led to an ease in speaking openly and honestly about challenges and problems they each had.
There were many individual and group breakthroughs during that week. One that Andrew remembers particularly well was during an interaction out at a bar. On two separate occasions he introduced a woman he was speaking with to some other people he had met only one hour before, and they remarked, “Wow, do you know everyone here?” When he laughed and replied that he had only arrived at the bar an hour ago and that this was his first time in L.A., he got a vision of just how different his life was going to be.
Another opportunity for growth came during the signature-gathering exercise, when the class fanned out on an L.A. street to get signatures from people. “I did not think it would be that difficult, but I was wrong.” However, he leaned into that difficulty, and was stunned to see that the techniques and skills he had learned yielded such immediate results.
Andrew also sensed a real breakthrough moment for the class during the improv session, as everyone gave feedback. “It was after that moment that we had convinced each other of how much we were capable of doing that I felt everyone in the room really got what Bootcamp was about.”
As the week came to a close, Andrew was constantly thinking about opportunities he would have to use what he had learned at work, with his friends, and even with his separated spouse.
Andrew has used those skills constantly since he came back from Los Angeles, and had a few key reflections on what changed for him.
- He has more overall confidence. This allows him to set and enforce boundaries much more effectively, which in turn leads to healthier relationships, be they familial, platonic, or romantic.
- He approaches everything from the “high value” perspective. This has led to being invited to events, making new friends, and becoming the guy everyone wants to talk to at the party. “That never, ever happened before AoC,” he says.
- He seeks to take responsibility and provide value all the time. Not just at work, but even in the most casual encounter. In the past his objectives in an encounter with another person might have been to “win” or to “be right” or to be thought of as intelligent. But now his objective is always to provide value. This has led to him being more effective at work because his colleagues don’t perceive him as having a personal agenda when he offers suggestions or help.
Andy believes that part of providing value to others is sharing his AoC story. When people ask why he chose AoC, he starts with the podcast. He encourages people to listen to it; it was the quality of the interviewees there that first got him thinking that Jordan, AJ, and the team knew what they were doing and actually had an approach to the program that was grounded in science.
He also was struck by the interview process for Bootcamp. While many competing programs, sadly, will accept anybody with a wallet and a pulse, we take the time to interview each student to make sure that they will not only get value from the program, but positively contribute to others.
When some hear his story they retort that it sounds like it’s “just for single guys,” but Andrew disagrees. “The skills required to make an emotional connection in the pursuit of a date are the same skills required to make any emotional connection. People like to be around confident people, whether or not they are interested in dating or just friendship.”
“More than ever, the world needs decent, confident, high-value people who seek to take responsibility and leave everything and everyone better than they found them,” Andrew opines. He ended with a question we ask anyone thinking about our programs: “Do you want to be one of those people?”
If you are interested in either our Bootcamp or other programs, stop by and ask us questions. Members of our team are usually available to chat and hear your thoughts.