A few months back I was speaking at a bloggers conference about content ideation. Basically, my entire session was on how you can come up with ideas for your blog and then how you can act on those ideas in your writing. It was a lot of fun. At one point, I asked if anyone had any questions and a local politician who occasionally gets himself into a little bit of trouble on social media raised his hand and asked;

“Do you care if anyone actually likes you?”

It’s a bit of a loaded question and it’s a little difficult to answer. I mean, the obvious answer is yes. Of course I care if people like me. I feel like as a human, if you don’t care if people like you then you are destined to live a very sad existence. But that’s not the whole answer. The whole answer is a little more complicated and reflects a great deal of how I run my business.

The truth is that there are a lot of people whose opinions I couldn’t care less about. As someone once said, “you can’t please all the people all the time.” And despite our best efforts, it’s incredibly true. We try to hard to be liked be everyone and for starters, it’s simply not possible. My wife and I were talking the other day about how difficult holidays can be for families and how one of the things that makes it so difficult is that not everyone is made to be friends with every other person on the planet. And yet as families, we stuff people in the same room, fill them with junk food and alcohol and expecting everything to go perfectly.

We expect the same things in our business lives and our online relationships. Don’t force it. Don’t try to be friends with people that you THINK you should be friends with. There are people that I follow because I like some of the things that they have to say but I wouldn’t in a million years want to have dinner or coffee with them because we’re just not meant to be together. So now let’s come back to the question at hand. Do I care if anyone likes me? Yes. Absolutely. But I care if the right people like me.

I want people that I respect to respect me. If I think that someone provides value to my life, I care what they think about the value I provide to theirs. And that resonates across my social media platforms, my business and my personal life. I love to interact with great people. I love to interact with powerful, knowledgeable, passionate people. I care deeply what THESE people think of me and it helps guide my decisions making process. What Would Ross Do? What Would Rowan Do? What Would Alison Do? These are the thoughts that enter my mind as I think of how I’m going to pursue personal and professional greatness. And it’s not about copying those individual’s models and methods. It’s about ensuring that I make decisions that they would consider powerful, knowledgeable, passionate decisions.

So the next time you’re thinking about posting something online or making a change to your brands or speaking in public or whatever you’re doing, I want you to picture the person who you respect the most in the entire world. Now picture their face when they first read your post or see your new logo or read your manifesto. Do they make a good face or a bad face? Act accordingly.