I have been reading The Likeability Factor by Tim Sanders. He writes that most people who pick up this book are somewhere in the middle of the spectrum of likeability– not hated or despised, but not necessarily the hit of the party, either. I guess that’s me pretty much exactly and I’m happy to be another statistic to support his findings.
Anyhow, in my curiosity around “likeability”, I’ve learned a lot from this book. Firstly, that your likeability factor affects pretty much everything around you and secondly, that your likeability can improve if you want it to (phew!). Here are some key factors I was impressed by that are affected by likeability.
1) Doctors provide more time, energy and specialized care for patients that are likeable. I never would have made this connection before, but it makes sense. I have had the same doctor for the past seven years until recently. I met my new doctor for the first time and he was rude, so I was rude back (naturally). Little did I know how this so greatly impacts my overall medical care and my future opportunities for referrals, resources and quality service. Whoops, my mistake!
2) Success in your workplace is not guaranteed by your expertise, knowledge or whom you know, but by your popularity. Research shows that most successful leaders, from CEOs to PTA presidents made genuine attempts to be liked. Hmm, food for thought.
3) In court cases, juries favor and award compensation to clients they like or emotionally connect with. Statistics find that the more a jury likes a client, the higher compensation is likely to be.
4) When both parties in a marriage are considered likeable or congenial, the risk of divorce is reduced by an additional 50 percent.
There are many more examples where likeability can affect your life and future. However, my mind veers toward what impacts and decreases likeability. On a personal note, when I think about instances where I was more unlikeable than not, I actually am able to recall a specific season. I had recently come out of some difficult times and was doing everything I knew to do to regain stability and normalcy in my life. Except for addressing what had been so difficult. In fact, I recall even expending energy trying to forget that specific hardship. And so, my unresolved issues around loss hardened and manifested into my poor behavior and even character. I was pretty snippy, impatient and generally unhappy. I know this seeped out into my friendships, my work environment and even to people like the grocery store clerk and the mailman.
I wonder what unresolved stuff affects you today in unrecognized, yet impactful ways? Perhaps your angry and abusive father passed two years ago, but you are more upset about why your children don’t want to spend time with you. Or maybe you have immersed yourself into work after a grueling divorce, but don’t understand why you keep getting passed up for promotions. Likeability can affect and improve both of these examples, but the real work begins with the root of your likeability factor. I speak passionately about this because I saw my quality of relationships and professional opportunity finally take off after I made the jump and addressed the hurt behind my unlikeability. The healing process unveiled renewed friendliness, empathy and relevance for the people around me.
What transformative work is needed in your life today to become more likeable?