Many of us are “people pleasers”: We want people to like us, so we go the extra mile to please them.
You might think of that as a harmless personality quirk but having the urge to want everyone to like you can be counterproductive in today’s business environment. In fact, being okay with not pleasing everyone can actually free you up to become more effective.
First and foremost, it is impossible for everyone to like you all the time. Coming to grips with this idea clears away a lot of stress from your workday: You only need to focus on doing the best you can, as opposed to meeting everyone else’s expectations.
Accepting this mindset also gives your confidence a lift, since you no longer have to tip-toe around other people. Instead, you can make decisions based on your skills and experience, which is probably why you were hired in the first place.
Get Comfortable with Rejection
That panicky, uncomfortable feeling you get when you feel disliked can be traced back through our evolution.
In tribal living situations, getting ostracized from the community was a matter of life and death. Essentially, we have evolved to want people to like us. This tendency is reinforced in middle school and high school, where being a part of the ‘in’ tribe meant perks, or at least the perception of perks. The result of all this in the workplace is often a desire to win over someone who rejected us, or to prevent rejection in the first place.
Bottom line, it’s perfectly normal to want to avoid rejection so don’t get into a shame spiral about wanting to please others.
Don’t Take Everything So Personally
Sometimes, people will act displeased with you through no fault of your own. Maybe they’re feeling insecure about something, or perhaps they’re going through a rough patch in their personal life. Or maybe they just haven’t gotten enough sleep.
Whatever the case, it’s important to remember that sometimes social rejection isn’t about you at all.
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