We live in a world of “likes”- from social media to dining room tables to board room discussions. Everyone is seeking a like, these days. But I challenge this: Anytime you head into a conversation and you’re aiming to get others to like you and, therefore, approve of your perspective, you have already failed before you’ve even uttered a word. Like yourself first and you cannot fail.
Case in point: a woman recently asked me about how to have a difficult conversation with her kids: she is marrying her recent boyfriend and needs to break the news to her adult children. Her tone in asking me was one of nervousness and doubt about how the conversation might go.
I asked her: "What is your goal in telling them?" She stared back for a moment and it became clear that she was seeking their approval of her and her decision. She wasn’t telling them to share her joy or to simply inform. She needed their “okay” to move forward in peace.
We often find ourselves at the cross-section of “I have something important to say.” and “I need you to like me.” It’s a tough spot – because it requires you to get someone to like you before either of you can approve of your choice. If you don’t get the “like” that you’re seeking, you feel insecure, nervous, beggar-ish. And, after this wave of emotions comes a palpable doubt that leads you to question whether or not what you’re saying is right. In this woman’s case, her quest to find approval will inevitably lead her to question, “Am I making the right choice in marrying this man?”
Like yourself first…and change your outcome every time.