by Anne Day
Hard to believe isn’t it? But that’s what my friend was telling me, and while I know she’s right, it’s a hard pill to swallow.
Yet, always the pleaser, like many women, I know that need to be liked has led me down a path that I didn’t necessarily want to travel. Because when you are anxious that everyone likes you, this can happen:
• You don’t say what you really, really think
• You agree to do something that doesn’t necessarily sit well with you
• You don’t speak up when you feel strongly about an issue for fear of alienating people
• You find yourself making overtures to or being with people you don’t actually like
• You waste energy and time trying to please everyone, rather than yourself.
Does any of this sound like you? The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. I’ve found as I’ve gotten older that I am a lot more outspoken. Part of it I am sure comes from confidence but it’s also a desire to be more authentic.
I value my time and don’t want to waste it on an activity that doesn’t resonate with me or where my contribution isn’t valued or respected, which means I can, and do, sometimes walk away from opportunities.
You could say that this is not a way to win friends and influence people, but being “nice” and tolerating time-wasters just doesn’t cut it for me anymore.
As a pleaser, I’ve often gone to great lengths to patch up difficulties, to diffuse difficult situations, but sometimes that doesn’t work and learning to walk away or agree to disagree is not always easy, but in reality that’s the best that can be done.
Letting go of that need to be liked by everyone is freeing and it can enable you to be more yourself – warts and all. It allows you to become more real and removes that need to be perfect all the time. Newsflash – that’s not possible.
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses helps diffuse the damage that can be done when someone hurls criticisms or attacks you personally.
Let’s face it, when you peel away the anger wrapped around the comments, there may well be a kernel of truth in what is said. It hurts less when you know that and if you are open, you can learn and grow.
But don’t stew over it either as that can be another downward spiral that can eat away at your esteem and energy. Far better to take note, learn from the experience and move on.
I know, easier said than done. That’s when you need that honest friend who will tell you to snap out of it, get over yourself and move on. We all need a friend who will perform this vital service – someone who knows you and yes, does still like you.
But she found working for yourself can be isolating and so eleven years ago she started Company of Women as a way to connect and support women entrepreneurs. Today the organization has six chapters across the GTA and beyond, and over 300 members. In 2009 she received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award in Oakville and the TIAW World of Difference award for her work in supporting women internationally. Over the years she has helped thousands of women grow professionally and personally through her programs, services and personal encouragement.
She is the author of three books, the most recent being Day by Day – Tales of business,life and everything in between. She is a regular business columnist with Huffington Post, and blogs for numerous other publications.