Pleasing

A friend started a consulting firm recently; previously, she’d worked in human resources for large corporations. Sole proprietorship has exposed her to entirely new-to-her aspects of business.

Over breakfast each day, she’d ask business questions.

A consistent theme emerged: Questions about pricing, referrals, negotiation, sales, and marketing all touched on concerns about causing upset or dislike.

I think most of us have felt similarly. Perhaps in business contexts. Perhaps in personal situations. We want people to like us. Even at the expense of our self interests.

Here’s the thing:

You can’t please everyone all the time—and you shouldn’t even try.

When it comes to business, act with integrity, honor commitments, treat others fairly—and always protect your own best interests. Doing so will mean, at times, not giving others everything they want or doing everything someone else asks you to do. Stand your ground in as polite a way as possible—but don’t cave.

If a business associate, client, prospect, or employee doesn’t like you for it? Well, darn. Not everyone will like you in life. And that’s okay.

You want to find out as soon as possible if someone will dislike you—or, worse, get angry—because you take measures to operate a successful business that holds to certain principles and standards. Do you really want that partner, business, or staff member? Nope.

When did you stand your ground—even if it didn’t make you popular?