How to work with people you DON’T like

Let’s face it. We’re not always going to like every co-worker, supplier, vendor, and so on. Sure, it’s human nature to try to work with people we like, and most of us if we’re in a position to do so, we tend to pick vendors and supplies, for example, that we like better, even at the cost of price, quality, delivery, and more. Over the years I’ve made a conscious decision to go with quality and trustworthiness first, because at the end of the day the best interest of my clients matters more than whether I like the people who print my manuals or host my mastermind groups.

How then, do we find a balance where we can work with people we don’t like, especially when we’re in a position where we don’t have much choice?

Now, I’m a man, and we men tend to be able to work with almost anyone. Part of this is because how we tend to communicate. Men’s communication tends to be a bit primitive, it centers around status, not unlike wolves in a pack. As long as we all know our spot in the pack, we can get along well enough to function. Women, on the other hand tend to communicate for connection. Thus when a woman doesn’t like who she’s working with, connecting seems just about impossible. However, there are plenty of men and women whose ‘communication personality’ is a mix of these two styles, so let’s explore a few simple ways to deal with folks you just don’t like.

  1. Get over yourself. Most of our judgments concerning people are entirely subjective. Sometimes we’re just plain wrong in how we’re viewing them. Even when we’re right, if we let our dislike for someone get in the way of what could otherwise be a productive and profitable relationship, we’re just being childish. Who cares if you don’t like him? Focus on getting results, not on whatever it is about the person you don’t like.
  2. Re-train your brain. Find a way to overlook the things you don’t like and find something to like. I once had to work with an event planner who I thought was insincere and selfish. I don’t like selfish people, and I despise insincere people. However, he was good at what he did, and I’m a big believer in loving people where they’re at, even if they get on my nerves, so I made a conscious decision to find something about him to like. He was a pretty snappy dresser, so I thought of him in terms of his fashion sense, and as a result we got along well enough that when it was my time to speak, he gave me probably the best introduction I’ve ever received. Had I not overcome my dislike, I might have done or said something to piss him off, and that intro might not have been quite so good.
  3. Don’t get too caught up with #2. I’m not saying you have to force yourself to like everyone. Sometimes the best approach is to focus on the work that is to be done.
  4. So, how do I focus on the work? The easiest way is to determine what the measurable results need to be. As the old saying goes, if it gets measured, it gets done. The next thing to do is to check your ego at the door. Sometimes, when we don’t like someone, even determining what needs to get done can turn into a tug of war. In some cases, I’ve even let the person I don’t like take the lead, supported their ideas (unless they were really THAT bad), and let them think they were the ‘alpha dog’ just so we could get the project done, get paid, and go home. Another way is to work virtually. With things like DropBox and other online means of collaboration, we can now to a great extent remove ourselves from the personal space of people we don’t like.

I try my best to work with people I like, but when that’s not possible, this simple approach has helped me to get along with people even when I really just wanted to tar and feather them, so give it a try.

Dealing with dream killers

Okay, so you have a dream. Maybe you’ve started planning for it, and it’s become a vision. You’re taking decisive action toward it’s fulfillment. Naturally, you’re excited about it, because you believe in it, so you go ahead and share it with those near and dear to you… or maybe you’re already telling anyone who will listen.

However, they don’t believe in it… and they’re not that nice about it. They point out its downsides, find fault with it, ridicule it, try to convince you that you’re not ‘qualified’ to achieve it, or maybe they even point how others are already doing something similar, or how others have tried and failed. Very often, many of us who get this kind of reaction get discouraged and let our dreams die, allowing others to rob us of our potential for success and greatness. We’ve been assassinated by dream killers.

First, we have to understand WHY so many people are dream killers. Not all of them are petty and vicious. Some of them just don’t want to see you fail miserably. In other cases, they’re just projecting their own fear of failure onto you, or because they fear they might ‘lose’ you if you do happen to succeed. In some cases, dream killers are people who secretly resent your ambition, because you’re willing to take chances that they aren’t willing to take. If you succeed, you underscore how they might have succeeded if they had just had the nerve to try.

When I went to Wall Street, I had lots of dream killers around me. I quickly learned how to handle them. Now, you can go hard core and just completely cut them all out of your life, but sometimes that just isn’t practical. In my case, I couldn’t cut off my family members, because at the time I was broke and lived with them. So I limited their access to me, especially whenever I was feeling discouraged or vulnerable.

Keep your discouragements, setbacks, and vulnerabilities private, at least with regard to the dream killers. You may even want to play things close to the chest in the early stages of a business or product launch so that the dream killers around you don’t get a chance to discourage you.

Now, we don’t get to choose our families, but we do have control over who our friends are, and how much time we spend with both. With this in mind, be purposeful in how you use your time with them. Make a habit of reserving more of your times for those who would encourage and help you. Don’t allow those who don’t value your dream to use much of your time!

Another thing I learned was to do my homework with regard to whatever I happened to be working on, so if anyone suddenly took on the role of a dream killer they weren’t going to win a debate with me about my dream. I also started using the ‘feedback’ I got from them to help me determine weaknesses in my plans. Even then, I took what they said with a bag of salt, not just a grain, because I knew that some of what they had to say was based on their own flawed thinking and incomplete knowledge.

I also had to recognize that people who are deeply entrenched in mediocrity will naturally criticize, ridicule or condemn those seeking to rise ‘above’ them. History does not kindly remember the critic. Would you put what the dream killers have to say on your tombstone? Then why listen to them?

Feed your dream. Find ways to encourage and motivate yourself. Many successful people create ‘vision boards,’ where they post pictures of the lifestyle they’re aiming for, or reminders of why they’re pursuing their dream. With every project I’ve ever worked on, I’ve always tried to come up with more reasons why it will work than why it won’t, and I remind myself continually of those reasons. Chances are, if I’m working on something, you won’t win an argument with me about it. Be more thorough in nurturing your dream than anyone else could be in trying to discourage it.

Stay focused. No matter what the dream killers have to say, keep working at your dream, one decision at a time. It’s your dream, not theirs, your life, not theirs.

Life is short. Don’t chase your dreams, hunt them down.

Intentions and Decisions

An intention without a decision is just a wish!

 

8 Ways to Make a Great Impression

When you meet a new potential client, colleague, business partner, friend, or love interest, they judge you with in seconds. It’s human nature. We all tend to do what we’ve been taught not to do: we judge a book by it’s cover. This new stranger will see you and make any number of judgments about you, determining within 5-8 seconds, including but not limited to, whether you are:

  • Friend or foe
  • Attractive or unattractive
  • Likeable
  • Competent
  • Trustworthy
  • Someone with status, or a ‘loser’
  • Intelligent or an idiot
  • Someone with authority

In many cases this will happen within the first five seconds of the encounter, and there is a lot of truth to how that old deodorant commercial used to say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Are there instances in which you can do ‘damage control’ for a poor first impression? Sure, but that’s a street you just don’t want to live on.

I’m not going to tell you that there’s some secret trick to keeping people from making snap decisions about you in seconds. There isn’t. You can, however, develop an understanding of how to make this tendency work for you rather than against you.

In most cases, our first impression of people are far more influenced by nonverbal signals than by anything we might say. Depending on whose research you want to believe, nonverbal signals have 3-4 times as much influence as whatever you’re saying.

That being said there are a few definite ways to use your nonverbal behavior to make a great first impression.

  1. Smile. A genuine smile conveys good will, trust, confidence, and ‘approachability.’ Go here for an article on The Power of a Genuine Smile.
  2. Attitude. Be sure to adopt an attitude appropriate for your situation. Acting like a wise-cracking gigolo might go over at a costume party where the crowd’s a bit tipsy, but it probably won’t do you any favors in a board room.
  3. Make eye contact. People who can’t or won’t make eye conact are usually seen as shifty or potentially deceptive at worst, lacking confidence at best. Good eye contact also helps to communicate your energy, trust, openness, and confidence.
  4. Posture. Status, authority and power are nonverbally conveyed by height and how you take up space. Standing straight, with your chin parallel to the floor, shoulders back, conveys confidence, strength, and competence. See our video on the James Bond Walk here.
  5. A firm handshake. Don’t try to crush anyone’s fingers, but give a firm handshake with a smile and eye contact. See our article on The Power of a Good Handshake here.
  6. Lean in just a little. Leaning toward someone slightly when they’re speaking to you shows that you’re engaged and interested. Of course, be mindful of their personal space. Generally, give them 2-3 feet.
  7. Raise your eyebrows slightly. Throughout the world, this is a sign of recognition and acknowledgement, and helps people see that you ‘get’ what they’re saying.
  8. Relax. Sometimes, this is easier said than done, but the truth is we tend to make ourselves more nervous than we should be. If I’m nervous, I tell myself ‘Honey Badger don’t care!’ At the end of the day, one client can’t make me rich or poor. Maintain high intentionality, but low attachment to the result.

If you do these things consistently, you’ll have an easier time making a strong personal impact in those critical first few seconds, and have a much better chance of ‘deserving’ the opportunity to connect with the right people.

Waiting on the world to change? Change the world!

I haven’t posted in a while, as I’ve not been well. Still feeling the effects of May’s car accident which left me with a severe concussion that I’ve yet to recover from. But enough about my problems! Let’s talk destiny.

One of the many obstacles to achievement and fulfillment is our human tendency to wait for better circumstances in orde to take action.

It’s a natural tendency. First, we don’t like change. Then, there’s the fact that most of us tend toward laziness, or rather toward wanting things to be easier than we perceive them to be. However, that and $2 will buy you a halfway decent cup of cofee. I know it’s popular to say ‘How bad do you want it?’ But the truth is that it’s more important to know WHY you want it, because the ‘why’ is going to be what drives you, what keeps you going when things go wrong, what gets you up an hour or two earlier to work on your vision, and what got you started in the first place.

WHY is where you find your purpose, your strength, and reasons to go on even when it seems like you’re getting nowhere.

But to get to WHY you’ve got to know WHAT, and that’s a major problem for would-be visionaries.

Want to find your WHAT? Understand that all growth, and all improvment of life and the human condition always come from change. What is it about you that can bring a change that will benefit others enough to make them want to pay you for it, and be glad that they did?