I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.
We often spend so much time to think about how to succeed that we forget to think about how to fail. But knowing how to fail is just as important as knowing how to succeed because we can then learn about what NOT to do. It’s dangerous to fix our eyes on the destination without being aware of the pitfalls along the way. We may run fast to our destination only to find ourselves trapped in the pitfalls at the end.
One such pitfalls is trying to please everybody. Here are some of the dangers of trying to please everybody:
- You may waste a lot of time on the wrong people while investing too little time in the right people. At the end, you could lose the right people since you do not invest enough in them.
- You may experience disappointment after disappointment. You may think that you have done badly due to the rejection and opposition you face, while actually you are just dealing with the wrong people.
- You won’t have strong principles since you try to be “acceptable” to everyone which is impossible to achieve.
Knowing how to avoid this pitfall is a useful weapon in your “how to succeed” arsenal. Here are seven tips not to try to please everybody:
1. Identify your strengths to know your audience
First of all, you should identify what your strengths are. By identifying your strengths, you will know what kind of value you can provide and consequently what kind of people you should target. Read more about identifying your strengths in 12 Essential Lessons to Maximize Your Personal Strengths.
2. Recognize your personal characteristics to know your audience
You are more likely to attract people who have similar characteristics as you. People who share similar interests, background, or point of view are more likely to respond well to you. By recognizing your personal characteristics, you will get a better idea about who are the right people to target.
3. Accept that you can’t please everybody
Of course, you should first try to target the right audience as described in point 1 and 2 above. But even if you do that, you still can’t please everybody. No matter how hard you try, there are always people who oppose you. Accepting this possibility will ease the burden and make the process much easier for you.
4. State your position in a way that is not ambiguous
You should state your position clearly without being ambiguous. One of the danger of trying to please everybody is polishing your position in such a way that it is acceptable to everyone. Most likely you can only do that through ambiguous message for which different persons have different interpretations. At the end it will do you more harm than good.
5. Keep an open mind
Before discarding other people’s opinions as “coming from the wrong people”, you should have an open mind to seek truth in their opinions. While it is wrong to try to please everybody, it’s equally wrong to just discard opinions we don’t agree with. Try to find something you can learn from them. Maybe it’s you who need to change.
6. Be polite but firm to your opposition
After exercising an open mind and still can’t find a solution, it’s time to be firm about your position. Don’t try to please the wrong person. If you do so, you may compromise your principles. State clearly to her that though you appreciate her opinion, yours is different.
7. Let the rejection go from your mind
After you face rejection, sometimes you still have it left in your mind. You may still think about it and feel bad about it. Doing so will just decrease your happiness and in turn your performance. So let the rejection go from your mind. Forget it. Say goodbye, close the door, and move on.
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