Should I need to be liked?

The longer I live, the longer I work, the more I learn. Like many women (especially women) I thought the key to success was to be well liked. This translated into making myself the life of the party (being “on” all the time is exhausting), always presenting myself as the confident woman full of knowledge about things I detested just so I could banter with the business guys (football, for instance), spending endless long late night hour after hour entertaining prospective clients (often while my colleagues fell asleep) who never ended up becoming clients. What I have learned over time, is that this behavior was completely futile. I should have read and digested and lived the learnings from smart, successful people like Margaret Thatcher and so many others. In it’s simplest form, what I’ve really learned is that is it better to be respected, than liked. Recently, I have put into practive a real confidence builder and that is an attitude that we are not a fit for every prospective client. We are only a fit if it makes sense to both the client AND us. That means they must have a need that we can fill AND must have the budget that they are willing to commit to spending on the solution we can provide. Without this, it isn’t a win AND it has absolutely nothing to do with being liked. It has to do with providing a solution. I don’t mean to say that I can now show up and act like a jerk. I have to conduct myself in a manner that will gain respect. Sometimes this means that my response to a possible project or opportunity may be, “I’m sorry Mr./ Ms prospect but I am afraid that what you are looking for is not a fit for my agency at this time, let me point you in another direction, if I may”. That type of statement wouldn’t likely come out of the mouth of a woman who needed to be liked. As the quote above suggests, if I needed to be liked I may be willing to compromise on my deliverables perhaps my prices, maybe even the quality really needed for the project. At the end of the day, the result wouldn’t be good for either the client or me. So, current learning – It’s better to plant your feet firmly on the ground and call it like it is without compromise. My new mantra is it’s better to be respected than to be liked.

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