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6 Reasons Why People Who Let Go Of Being Liked Have Better Careers

6 Reasons Why People Who Let Go Of Being Liked Have Better Careers

There is a common problem that holds many people back. And that is the desire to please everyone and be liked by all. So often we mistakenly think that to get ahead in our careers we need everyone all around us to like us. But, if you are constantly worrying about everyone liking you, you are wasting a lot of time on trivialities. If you are always going out of your way to make sure this person – and everyone else – likes you, you’re wasting resources and energy, and you won’t be as effective at your job.

Don’t get me wrong: being liked by colleagues isn’t bad. However, you can’t please everyone all the time and you shouldn’t even try. You don’t need to be unnecessarily mean or bossy either to get ahead. That’s often just as counter-productive as trying to be well-liked. What you do need is to let go of the idea that you have to be liked by everyone at work to succeed.

Convinced yet?

Some of the most successful people in business today like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Tesla’s Elon Musk, Google’s Larry Page, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Starbucks’ Howard Schultz all have said that they really don’t care to please everyone, and that has been central to their success.

Admittedly, it can be tough to let go of the desire to please everyone. However, people who let go of being liked by everyone ultimately have better careers than those who don’t let go. Here are six reasons why:

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1. They can say no, and it won’t bother them.

That’s because they are empowered. It doesn’t bother them to say “no” to anything that’s not a priority, which means they are unlikely to fall victim to agreeing to things that don’t align with their values or goals just to keep everyone happy.

In an interview with award-winning journalist Betsy Morris about the secrets to Apple Inc.’s success and the prospects of the company succeeding without him, Steve Jobs said:

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done.”

2. They can give honest and unambiguous feedback.

People who let go of being liked can give honest feedback because they don’t tremble at the thought of upsetting a few people with the truth. Ultimately, honest and unambiguous feedback helps the whole team improve and facilitates workplace advancement.

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Again Steve Jobs was a model for why prioritizing results over likability leads to more success in business and life. He believed that beating around the bush in order to save people’s feelings was a form of selfishness.

As Apple’s lead designer Jony Ive recently recounted in The New Yorker, Jobs helped him to see that a deep desire to be liked can undercut the need to give clear, unambiguous feedback. Being vague to spare someone’s feelings is actually an act of vanity.

3. They can take more risks and go for what they want.

People who let go of being liked don’t let what others think stop them from reaching for their dreams. They take more risks and go for what they want. Their courage in risk taking is often rewarded with the perfect role that gives them all the flexibility, fulfillment and joy that they could ever want.

Unfortunately, most people are risk averse and don’t reach for their dreams. Recruitment consultants have mentioned how the greatest challenge they see among female job candidates securing ideal roles is their tendency to be risk averse, and also to worry unnecessarily about what people will say of their ambitions.

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Bill Gates says it right, “To win big, you sometimes have to take big risks.”

4. They can make tough calls and stick to their guns.

People who let go of being liked are not afraid to make tough or controversial decisions. They can stand their ground without being ruffled by people’s disapproval of them or their decisions. That is because they are self-assured and don’t really care for pleasing everyone. Instead, they are more interested in reviewing the data, suggestions and feedback objectively and getting things done effectively – not on whether or not their decision will be liked by everyone. And that is what makes them great leaders.

Consider all the great leaders you can think of in business and government. What makes them excel at their job? It’s their understanding that sometimes an unpopular decision is just what’s best for business. It’s their ability to make the hard decisions for the greater good of those concerned.

5. They can focus on core goals and pay less attention to sideshows.

People who let go of being liked don’t easily get caught up in what others are saying. This means they are not easily distracted from the goals they’re working toward. When others are busy engaging in petty office gossip or politics, they simply don’t pay much attention to all of that. They remain focused on what matters, which is how their work impacts the bottom line. That ensures they get ahead at work.

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In the end, getting the job done right is what matters for your company’s success and your own career growth and development.

6. They can be themselves always.

People who let go of being liked are free to be their true selves. They can express themselves, their likes, their dislikes, their personality without fear of what others will say. They know the need for approval kills freedom and drowns your own voice. It holds you back from speaking your opinions and forces you to hide your true self in an effort to be someone others will like.

Chinese military strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu says, “Know yourself and you will win all battles.” Even in the battle for a better career, knowing yourself, focusing on your priorities and moving past pleasing others is the key to success. You shine and excel in your career when you let go of being liked and live your life in alignment with what is most important to you.

More by this author

David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

How to Make a Career Change at 50 for Great Opportunities

How to Make a Career Change at 50 for Great Opportunities

Turning 50 is a milestone in anyone’s life, after all you are half way to 100! But seriously, turning 50 is often a time in life when people can sit back and take a look at where they’ve been and contemplate what the future holds.

Can you change careers at 50? It’s not uncommon for people in their 50’s to consider a career change, after all if you’ve spent 20 to 30 years in a career, chances are that some of the bloom is off the rose.

Often, when we are starting out in our 20’s, we choose a career path based on factors that are no longer relevant to us in our 50’s. Things like our parents’ expectations, a fast paced exciting lifestyle or the lure of making a lot of money can all be motivating factors in our 20’s.

But in our 50’s, those have given way to other priorities. Things like the desire to spend more time with family and friends, a slower paced less stressful lifestyle, the need to care for a sick spouse or elderly parents can all contribute to wanting a career change in your 50’s.

Just like any big life changing event, changing careers is scary. The good news is that just like most things we are scared of, the fear is mostly in our own head.

Understanding how to go about a career change at 50 and what you can expect should help reduce the anxiety and fear of the unknown.

What are Your Goals for a Career Change?

As in any endeavor, having properly defined goals will help you to determine the best path to take.

What are you looking for in a new career? Choosing a slower less stressful position that gives you more time with family and friends may sound ideal, but you’ll often find that you’re giving up some income and job satisfaction in the process.

Conversely, if your goal is to quit a job that is sucking the life from your soul to pursue a lifelong passion. You might be trading quality time with family and friends for job satisfaction.

Neither decision is wrong or bad, you just need to be aware of the potential pitfalls of any decision you make.

Types of Career Changes at 50+

There are four main types of career changes that people make in their 50’s. Each type has it’s unique set of challenges and will very in the degree of preparation required to make the change.

Industry Career Change

In this career change, a person remains in the same field but switches industries.

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With an industry change, a person takes their set of skills and applies them to an industry that they have no previous experience in.

An example would be a salesperson in the oil and gas industry becoming a salesperson for a media (advertising) company. They are taking their skill set (selling) and applying it to a different industry (media).

This type of career change is best accomplished by doing a lot of homework on the industry you want to get into as well as networking within the industry.

Functional Career Change

A functional career change would be a change of careers within the same industry.

For example, an accountant at a pharmaceutical company who changes careers to become a human resources manager. It may or may not be with the same company, but they remain within the pharmaceutical industry. In this case, they are leaving one set of skills behind (accounting) to develop a new set (human resource) within the same industry.

In a functional career change, new or additional training as well as certifications may be required in order to make the switch. If you are considering a functional career change, you can start by getting any training or certifications needed either online, through trade associations or at your local community college.

Double Career Change

This is the most challenging career change of all. A person doing a double career change is switching both a career and an industry.

An example of a double change would be an airline pilot quitting to pursue their dream of producing rock music. In that case, they are leaving both the aviation industry and a specific skill set (piloting) for a completely unrelated industry and career.

When considering a double career change, start preparing by getting any needed training or certifications first. Then you can get your foot in the door by taking an apprenticeship or part time job.

With a double change, it’s not uncommon to have to start out at the bottom as you are asking an employer to take a chance on someone without any experience or work history in the industry.

Entrepreneurial Career Change

Probably one of the most common career changes made by people in their 50’s is the entrepreneurial career change.

After 20 to 30 years of working for “Corporate America”, a lot of people become disillusioned with the monotony, politics and inefficiency of the corporate world. Many of us dream of having our own business and being our own boss.

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By this time in our life, we have saved some money and the financial pressures we had with young children have passed; so it’s a perfect time to spread our entrepreneurial wings.

Entrepreneurial career changes can be within the same industry and using your existing knowledge and contacts to start a similar business competing within the same industry. Or it can be completely unrelated to your former industry and based on personal interests, passions or hobbies.

A good example would be someone who played golf as a hobby starting an affiliate marketing website selling golf clubs. If you are considering an entrepreneurial career change, there are a lot of very good free resources available on the internet. Just be sure to do your homework.

Practical Tips on Making a Career Change at 50+

So you’ve decided to take the plunge and make a career switch in your 50’s. No matter what your reasons or what type of a career change you are embarking on, here are some helpful hints to make the transition easier:

1. Deal with the Fear

As stated earlier, any big life change comes with both fear and anxiety. Things never seem to go as smoothly as planned, you will always have bumps and roadblocks along the way. By recognizing this and even planning for it, you are less likely to let these issues derail your progress.

If you find yourself becoming discouraged by all of the stumbling blocks, there are always resources to help. Contacting a career coach is a good place to start, they can help you with an overall strategy for your career change as well as the interview and hiring process, resume writing / updating and more. Just Google “Career Coach” for your options.

I also recommend using the services of a professional counselor or therapist to help deal with the stress and anxiety of this major life event.

It’s always good to have an unbiased third party to help you work through the problems that inevitably arise.

2. Know Your “Why”

It’s important that you have a clear understanding of the “why” you are making this career change. Is it to have more free time, reduce stress, follow a passion or be your own boss?

Having a clear understanding of you personal “why” will influence every decision in this process. Knowing your “why” and keeping it in mind also serves as a motivator to help you reach your goals.

3. Be Realistic

Take an inventory of both your strengths and weaknesses. Are your organizational skills less than stellar? Then, becoming a wedding planner is probably not a good idea.

This is an area where having honest outside input can be really helpful. Most of us are not very good at accurately assessing our abilities. It’s a universal human trait to exaggerate our abilities while diminishing our weaknesses.

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Requesting honest feedback from friends and co-workers is a good place to start, but this is another area where a career coach can come in handy.

4. Consider an Ad-Vocation

Sometimes, making a career change all at once is just too big of a change. Issues like a severely reduced income, geography and lack of benefits can all be impediments to your career change. In those cases, you may want to start your new career as an ad-vocation.

An ad-vocation is a second or ad-on vocation in addition to your primary vocation. Things like a part-time job, consulting or even a side business can all be ad-vocations.

The benefit of having an ad-vocation is being able to build experience a reputation and contacts in the new field while maintaining all the benefits of your current job.

5. Update Your Skills

Whether it means acquiring new certifications or going back to school to get your cosmetology licence, having the right training is the foundation for a successful career change.

The great thing about changing careers now is that almost any training or certifications needed can be free or at very little cost online. Check with trade associations, industry websites and discussion groups for any requirements you may need.

Learn How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive.

6. Start Re-Branding Yourself Now

Use the internet and social media to change the way you present yourself online.

Changing your LinkedIn profile is a good way to show prospective employers that you are serious about a career change.

Joining Facebook groups, trade associations and discussion boards as well as attending conventions is a great way to start building a network while you learn.

Here’re some Personal Branding Basics You Need to Know for Career Success.

7. Overhaul Your Resume

Most of us have heard the advice to update our resume every six months, and most of us promptly ignore that advice and only update our resume when we need it.

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When making a career change, updating is not enough; this calls for a complete overhaul of your resume. Chances are that your current resume was designed around your old career which may or may not apply to your new goals.

Crafting a new resume emphasizing your strengths for the new position your looking for is key. There are many places that will help you craft a resume online and it is a service included with most career coaching services.

8. Know Your Timeline

There are a lot of factors when it comes to how long it will take to make the career change.

Industry and Functional career changes tend to be the easiest to do and therefore can be accomplished in the shortest period of time. While the Double Career Change and the Entrepreneurial Career Change both require more effort and thus time.

There are also personal factors involved in the time it will take to switch careers.

Generally speaking the more you are willing to be flexible with both compensation and geography, the shorter time it will take to make the switch.

Final Thoughts

Changing careers at anytime can be stressful, but for those of us who are 50 or above, it can seem to be an overwhelming task fraught with pitfalls and self doubt.

Prospective employers know the benefits that come with more mature employees. Things like a wealth of experience, a proven work history and deeper understanding of corporate culture are all things that older workers bring to the table.

And while the younger generation may possess better computer or technical skills than us, if you’re willing to learn, there are a ton of free or nearly free resources available to you.

Deciding on a career change at 50 is a great way to experience life on your own terms.

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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