Most people really want to be liked. Not just because it feels good—being liked is a key factor in both professional and personal success. Recently, I took a leap in my career and purchased 2 veterinary hospitals that employ more than 75 people. I have learned that being the head honcho is not only stressful and challenging but also lonely. As a female, nonveterinarian practice owner, I feel like I live under a microscope as my team and clients scrutinize my every decision, action, and word.
I made the mistake of sacrificing success for being liked. In lieu of making rapid, tough, and, at times, risky decisions that were in the best interest of the business, I backed down and went with safe or popular decisions. As a result, I didn’t like myself and lost confidence in my ability to make good decisions.
The lesson I have learned is that my desire to be liked by everyone will hold me back. Leaders who want to change things can’t please everyone; if we please everyone, we do not make progress. I hope to lead as Abraham Lincoln did, in that when I lay down the reins of this administration, I want to have one friend left, and that is the friend within me.