In a recent podcast interview, I got to talk to two badass women about self-promotion and likeability came up. As we know, self-promotional women are still penalized for falling outside of gender norms. Even when we don’t consciously believe those norms. It’s called the Backlash Effect – brought to light by researchers Laurie Rudman and Julie E. Phelan. In simple terms:

Put yourself out there!

Now tone it down!

It’s a lot. No wonder it makes us want to check out and say F it.

During our conversation, Lisa Lindsey, one of hosts of Bossy, Brilliant, and Badass, got right to the core of it – it’s not your job to be liked by everyone.

I feel like that deserves caps:



Think about it: being liked by everyone means you’re spending all your precious finite time managing their feelings about you instead of:

a) caring what you think of yourself

b) contributing to the world in your way.

PLUS – what do we know about others’ feelings? We have zero control over them. In fact, there are some people who don’t like you right now. And it’s OKAY.

SO to put it emily bluntly (hehehe): your socialized “need” to be liked by everyone is just the patriarchy’s way of keeping you down and powerless. A’yup.

Does this mean you get to be a jerk? Nope. Kindness matters. You can still be kind and not a people-pleaser.

👉It means you get to have and share opinions and perspectives.

👉It means you get to share your wins and successes. (Have you joined my self-promo challenge yet?)

👉It means you get to surprise yourself when you find out that you are STRONG ENOUGH to handle the reactions (or silence) of others. And if it stings 🐝a little bit, find a friend and vent. Then move on ‘cuz you got shit to do.

👉It also means you get to build a tribe that has been waiting to cheer you on 🙌 and benefit from what you have to say.

I don’t want to minimize the value of being liked. Who we inherently like and feel connected to is baked into our unconscious brains. (Thank you Vernā Myers’s TEDTalk).

And do we want to work with people we don’t like? Not really. But, if we’re self-aware enough to notice what it is that is rubbing us the wrong way, there may just be something we can learn from the person. (This is where culture add vs. culture fit comes in but that’s for a different time.)

The bottom line: You’re never going to be liked by everyone and it’s okay.

You win some and you lose some. If someone disagrees with you or doesn’t fancy how you promoted something, you likely never “had them” in the first place – and – you get to decide whether it’s worth it to dig into it or not. If it’s a colleague that you have to work with everyday, it probably is. But there’s always the chance it has zero to do with you. #notyourcircus

BTW – we can disagree and still like one another!


Needing to be liked…

👎…feeds into our people-pleasing.

👎…weakens and erases our boundaries.

👎…puts our needs last.

👎…prioritizes external validation over our own inherent value.

👎…depletes our finite energy.

That last one is reason enough for me to pay attention to when I’m slipping into the likeability time suck.

The greatest gift we can give ourselves is to know what our values and needs are (aka our “non-negotiables”), articulate them (our boundaries), and to stick to them.  If this is new to you, it may be hard to go cold turkey.

Questions to consider:

  • What difference could it make to stick to your non-negotiables 25% of the time? Then 50%? Then 75%?
  • What difference could it make for you to talk about your successes 25% of the time? Okay, you get it.


Don’t forget to check out the podcast interview! 👇👇👇