I have never had a particularly high amount of energy around being liked. Don’t get me wrong… it is certainly nice to be liked. But I don’t need to be liked. It simply isn’t high on my priorities list.
…Conversely, it has always been important for me to be perceived as fair.
With that said, one of the tough things about arbitrating disputes is that everyone sees things from their own point of view. This means that no matter how hard one tries to be even handed, how effective you ultimately are in that capacity is in the eye of the beholder. And so I am reminded of one of life’s oldest and simplest lessons, and also one of its truest:
You can’t please everyone.
An HR Executive that I recently met shared a John Wooden quote with me a few weeks ago that goes “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your 1. This would have made a good quote for next week, but this has been an informative week for quotes and life lessons so I’m doubling up. reputation is merely what others think you are.” 1
It turns out this may be very good advice.
…Perhaps instead of getting lost in the search of perfection – that response or action that pleases everyone – we should simply try and treat everyone as well as we can whenever we can, and hope it all comes out in the wash. I don’t think doing this means losing awareness of other’s perceptions or their relative weight and value. But I do think it might mean not beating yourself up too much over what might have been. And I think it means recognizing that sometimes your best simply needs to be good enough.
To move forward we can occasionally glance back… but we can’t hold onto the past.
Or maybe I have this wrong.
As always, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.