For most of my young social life, being well liked by others was a top priority. With the rise of social media, being “liked” or likeable seems more important than ever! But here are the reasons why you shouldn’t care about being liked or accepted by your peers.
When I first became a creative entrepreneur, I cared about what all my industry peers thought of me. At the time, I had just started navigating the entertainment / music industry, and I was professing myself to be something that I was not:
a single-faceted creative
Like many other creative industries, the moment people find out your multi-faceted, you’re often frowned upon and labeled unfocused. Sadly, there are other times where people just want to use you, and if they find you too
independent different, then they Bounce Right. ?? Outta. ?? Yo. ?? Life, Honey! And then, boom–just like that–you’ve lost ALL your professional colleagues! Oh, Em, Gee!
I always had a paralyzing fear of this. I wanted so badly to work with other creatives, collaborate and just create magic, that I constantly hid my other talents. I didn’t want to scare people away. I wanted to be respected, and feel appreciated and contributory by my peers. I wanted to feel authoritative. I wanted to be accepted and liked, too.
But that just wasn’t in the cards for me. I wasn’t well “liked”, I was often ignored, and I didn’t make as many “friends” as I wanted.
As a successful, self-made creative, I’ve learned all aspects of marketing myself. That means I learned graphic design, film, editing, marketing, SEO, content curation, and social media to name a few. And the only ones who tend to understand the complex type of creative that learns all of these things, are other creatives that are also multi-faceted.
Nonetheless, this made me feel like an outcast. I felt like I didn’t belong. On one hand, extremely creative people are expected to look, act and breathe a certain way. I definitely didn’t fit that mold. And extremely analytical, business folks, tend to have their own logistics thing that creatives often lack.
The day I stopped strategizing how to appease others, my life changed.
I discovered when you first start off, your peers won’t respect you. You most likely won’t be accepted, or liked, and people won’t make intentional efforts to collaborate with you or create awesome magic.
The Story That Changed My Life
There is one story every entrepreneur should read, and that’s the fable told about an Eagle that thought he was a chicken.
A farmer found an eagles egg, and brought it to his chicken coop. It hatched and grew up with the chicken and learned to imitate a hens every move. Although the chicken knew he was an eagle, they accepted him as one of their own and taught him everything they knew. Whatever the chicken did, the eagle did too. He learned only to fly short distances, because that’s what chickens do; and he spent most of his days, pecking at the ground.
One day the eagle saw a beautiful bird fly in the sky. He was enamored by the birds beautiful wings, power and grace. His eyes widened. “Wow! What is that?”
A chicken laughed and said, “That’s an Eagle! The most powerful bird in the sky. But don’t worry yourself about that, we are chickens. You will never be able to fly like that.” The other chicken laughed, too.
The eagle resigned and returned to pecking at the ground. Eventually he died and never got to explore the full possibilities of his life or any of his true capabilities.
There are two morals to this story.
- First, a chicken will never tell an eagle that they’re an eagle. Even though all of the chicken were aware that the eagle was an eagle, they purposely told him things to make him think he was not. The biggest mistake you can make in life is to expect people to highlight your greatness.
- Second, people want you to be great, but never better than them. The chicken were fine with teaching him all the things that made him an exquisite chicken, but they didn’t want him to realize his grandiosity as an eagle. Because the eagle was centered on being the best chicken, the eagle never even tried to see if he could fly longer.
Multi-faceted creatives tend to deal with this daily because people fear the full potential of a multi-faceted creative. Often these creatives run circles around their single counterparts. If you knew people potentially ignored or disliked you because they thought you were better than them, would you still care about what people thought?
I get it. Not being welcomed can make anyone feel like a total loser and it’s so much easier to become a chicken, like the eagle did. But if the only opinion you have of yourself is based on how others perceive you, like the eagle, you’re eliminating,
As far as my story, eventually I did make professional colleagues. I learned two valuable lessons though: seeking approval is time consuming, and befriending like-minded people is more fulfilling. When you seek approval, you spread yourself thin trying to appease every person. Keeping them all happy takes way more effort than keeping yourself happy.