It’s About Who You Like, Not Who Likes You

Are you a people-pleaser? Are you always the first to volunteer for something? Do you experience a certain sense of satisfaction when you do something for someone else?

Yeah, that’s me to a T.

I think we all want to be liked (myself included) and one of the easiest ways to endear yourself to people is generosity, whether it be financial, emotional or physical. We think that people will see our kindness and that it will make them like us more. Unfortunately, that is not the truth. People will like you because of the things you do for them, not because of who you are. Worst of all, some of these people will take advantage of your kind nature and you will be so busy trying to please them that you won’t even realize it’s happening.

The other day, a friend flipped the whole thing around for me. “Why do you even want these people to like you?” she asked. “Do you even like them?”

Wait. So I was trying to get people to like me even though I might not necessarily like them? Where was the logic in that? Where was the rule stating that everyone had to like me no matter what?

Do I want to be friends with a bully? Do I want to be friends with someone I think is mean? Rude? Toxic? Fake? Selfish? Ignorant? The answer to all the above is no.

So if I don’t want to be friends with them, why would I even want them to like me? What does it say about my character if they do?

So from now on I’m following my friend’s advice. “Think about the people that you like,” she said. “The people you actually admire, who share your values, who you appreciate as a person. Those are the people whose approval you seek. Those are the people that you target as your friends. If you give, they will give back and you’ll keep on giving to each other because that’s how we take care of each other. That’s how we take care of our friends. We choose the best people for us and we nurture them.

Easier said than done, especially as you grow older and the opportunities to cultivate our friendships grow fewer and farther between and meeting new people becomes more difficult.

I’m lucky to have been able to surround myself with some really strong, intelligent and talented men and women who are above all things kind, and whose generosity seems to know no limits. These are the the people I like, the people I want to be friends with and at the end of the day, I only care about whether they like me too. (Surprisingly enough, they say yes.)

In this day and age we place so many demands ourselves that sometimes even going about our day-to-day lives is exhausting. As a person who likes to keep busy, I find myself struggling to stay balanced. You can follow my journey here, or click here or here to find more ways to streamline your life to keep it simple.

What are some of the ways that you stay balanced? Give us your advice below, or email your strategies to keepingbusywithb@gmail.com.

When You Just Need a Sounding Board

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Everyone needs at least one important person in their professional lives that has nothing to do with your boss, your co-workers, or your employees. Whether you’re the person who runs meetings or the person who cleans up after them, we all as professional people need a sounding board to get us through our professional crises and challenges.

Swapping work horror stories over margaritas with friends may be a fun way to unwind and let loose all of that nasty stuff that you’ve been holding in all week, like how tired you are of hearing your co-worker swoon over her new boyfriend, or how poorly-dressed the new supervisor was last Thursday.

Having someone to act as a sounding board for you is a more meaningful experience than that. It’s useful to be able to gossip (and depending on your relationship with your sounding board there may be some sniping involved). But more importantly, your sounding board is someone you should be able to go to in times of real difficulty; someone who knows you well enough to understand how you operate and which professional goals mean the most to you. They can help provide an objective perspective on your own unique challenges at work while keeping your personal and professional well-being in mind.

This person may be a trusted friend, a former colleague, or an acquaintance met through work connections. Maybe it’s a friend of yours that has similar career goals, or a relative who may have experience in your particular field. Whatever your relationship is to your sounding board, they ultimately should be someone you trust and ultimately someone whose opinion you respect. Ideally, your sounding board should be drawn from your pool of acquaintances outside of your own workplace (if you have one). Work relationships run the risk of going south quickly if sensitive or potentially harmful information is shared. Open communication between you and your sounding board is key; it’s important that you choose a sounding board with whom you can be candid, and who can return your candor in a constructive way.

A mentor may be someone with whom you share a working relationship, or hope to someday; a sounding board is someone with whom you can maintain a somewhat professional distance. You never want your own personal feelings or opinions to get in the way of a potential client or partnership. A sounding board is someone who will understand that you are not the sum of what you do to make money and that your career is not necessarily based on the current job you have.

I’m lucky enough to have a couple of different sounding boards in my life- people who I can rant to, people who can give me guidance when I’m feeling stuck, even people who are willing to look at my work with a fresh pair of eyes when I’m feeling like my brain is made of mush.

Choose your sounding boards carefully and you can find yourself in one of the best relationships you’ve experienced in your working career.  I know I have and as I continue to dream and grow (and mostly dream) my business, I hope to meet many more.

KBwB-BFlower-50Do you have a sounding board in your life? Give them a shout-out below, or if you’ve got a special story to share, email it to me at keepingbusyb@gmail.com and I may decide to include it in a future post (with you and your sounding board’s permission, of course).

I look at careers and working life a little differently than the rest- probably because I spend most of my life working and then reading books that are about working. To see where I get some of my inspiration, click here to read some of my business book reviews. If you’re looking for more ways to balance your professional life, I write a lot about doing business here.