“It’s not your job to like me, it’s mine.”
There is a saying that I share with clients often (and yes, it is from Al-Anon). “What other people think of me is none of my business.”
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that this can still trip me up. I learned it decades ago, and yet I can still get caught in worry and fear that I’ve disappointed someone or let someone down.
That worry and fear nearly always get in the way of being my best self, doing my best work, and living my best life.
I’m not suggesting that we move through our days and our work acting however we please and never taking other peoples’ needs and feelings into consideration. As we learn in Positive Psychology, Other People Matter. However, more often than not, when my clients (or I) worry about what someone else thinks about them, it is generally a great distraction – it keeps me worrying about them and their thoughts, it keeps me from focusing on the things that really matter and what I can and need to do in the moment – and it generally, again, gets in the way.
Similarly, if I am driven not only by my worry about what you think of me, but even more so by my need for you to like me, I pretty much only end up tied into knots. At some point, I think we’ve all heard the adage, “You have to love yourself before anyone else can love you.” The same is true about my need for you to like me. As Byron Katie says, “it’s not your job to like me, it’s mine.”
When I get caught in my need for you to like me, I, again, lose my ability to be my best self and do my best work. Because I’m focused on what you want and what will win you over.
Yes, we need to be aware of others. Yes, we need to be kind. Yes, we need to do and be our best selves. Especially as leaders. Especially now.
But it’s my job not to focus all my attention and effort on what you think about me.
It’s my job to like myself.
How have you learned to focus more on yourself, your tasks, and your team, instead of other people’s opinions?
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