cowardly lion

Many years ago (and I do mean MANY!) I received some exceptional feedback from my boss during my first annual performance review.

“You seem to work very hard to be liked,” he said.

“Well I guess so,” I responded. “Doesn’t everybody?”

“Not necessarily,” my boss said. “In business, trying to please everyone can be exhausting. I would rather be a person who is known as fair all the time instead of a person who is liked all the time. If you are always liked, what are you risking, what are you achieving?”

This feedback hit me like a ton of bricks. It led to a long period of introspection and self-discovery. Why was it so important for me to be liked? Was I so much different that everybody else, and how was that impacting me in the business world? In my personal life?

I determined that it probably had something to do with seeking approval from my parents and as I resolved these issues over a period of years, I became a more confident and centered person. Of course I am still a work in progress (and always will be) but without question I am a better father, a better consultant, and a better teacher if I focus on “being fair” instead of hinging my self-worth on “being liked.”

I also think this has made me a better blogger.

Last week, Lori Ruff asked me why I seem to be able to think differently on my blog, why I write about things that other people don’t write about.

Here’s the curious thing. Every time I take a different view or state a bold opinion on {grow}, many people will comment or tweet: “I was just thinking the same thing!”

So the irony is, I don’t think differently from other people. In fact, LOTS of people think the same way I do. The difference is, I’m putting it in writing.

As I help people with their own blogs and social media presence I have come to believe this to be a significant issue, To stand out, we need to be original and to be original I’m not sure you can always appeal to everyone.

As my boss wisely asked, if you are trying to be liked by every person, what are you risking? What are you achieving?

Maybe the “special something” of blogging is “courage.” As I think about it, I would definitely point to “courage” as an attribute of some of my favorite bloggers.

If you didn’t have to worry about “being liked,” but focused on “being fair,” how would that affect your approach to creating content? Is that a difficult shift?

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