“Can’t believe it—been nominated for an Emmy!” That Facebook message got me pretty excited a few weeks back. Finally yesterday I had a chance to catch up with the composer of the St. Jude’s commercials, the work for which Alex was nominated. During our conversation Alex said that in a recent interview he was asked what he thinks what success depends upon. His answer was there are three things: likeability, determination, and talent. Let’s take a look at why likeability matters.
Alexander von Bubenheim is a musician, singer, and composer. Like me, he is also an immigrant from Germany. He arrived like so many of us here in Los Angeles with big dreams of breaking into the business. He soon realized the big guys weren’t exactly rolling out the red carpet for him. The path to success for Creative Entrepreneurs is a grueling one, indeed. For all my entrepreneurs and leaders with a mission, it’s clear that success = a lot of work.
But determination is only the second attribute Alex mentioned. So why is likeability so important?
Alex and I go back 20 years. He was there throughout my struggles and when I struck it big. He has watched me build my business that supports Creative Entrepreneurship and has always encouraged my mission of The Women’s Code where we change the way women work and lead. When I shared some recent success stories, such as being asked to speak about balanced leadership to companies like Merck & Co., Inc., Alex simply said, “You are likeable. That’s what matters most.”
Alex speaks German with a Bavarian accent, can play nine instruments (he borderlines on genius if you ask me), drives a Harley Davidson, and converted an old bus into a kick ass “tour bus.” This is a guy who is so unique and different that you can’t help but like him. There’s just something about Alex.
Our conversation continued percolating long after I hung up the phone. Wait a minute. He didn’t mention anything about finding success through a great idea, or even talent. Why does likability matter so much?
Here are some insights from Kathy Caprino about likability. Kathy’s article concludes that kind, generous, and gentle-minded individuals have the largest community of friends who truly like them personally. That is the differentiator. We may like what one stands for and what they say, but that doesn’t mean we always like them as a person. Without likability, there is no trust. We may play along but there is no real connection for us to the story or the person.
A current example of this can be found with our top two politicians vying for POTUS. How can such opposing candidates who both struggle with being liked have a place on the ballot for the highest office in the country? Yet, the candidate who was liked the most didn’t even make the cut.
You gain likeability when others feel you are making “it” (whatever “it” may be) about them. They want to feel you have their interests in mind, that you care how they feel, and that you have a sincere desire to learn about their lives and to do your part to make them better.
Narcissists, egomaniacs, abusers, swindlers, and liars don’t make the cut in the long run. That is, unless you are a reformed narcissist, egomaniac, abuser, swindler or liar with a comeback story. Everyone admires self-improvement, even if you are a recovering prick.
From the Myers-Briggs personality assessment (MBTI ®) we know there are 16 personality types. I would be lying if I told you I find it easy to connect with every type. There are some people I instantly “LIKE” and others, well, I don’t even know why they make me feel so uncomfortable.
Here is what you can do. Regardless of what type you fall under—introverted or extroverted, methodical or intuitive, logical or emotional, organized or a bit chaotic—take that extra moment to connect with another person. Make it mean something. Make it matter. Cut the crap and stop pretending you don’t care.
And most importantly: like more. Like yourself more, like your work more, like the people you hang with out more. Look for all things likable. If you have difficulties with it, you may want to ask your friends what they like most about you. Build on it. Show it more and I bet you will find more satisfaction and deeper connections. And in case this post hasn’t gotten you to think, watch this video to see what a difference liking makes.
At her lowest point, Beate Chelette was $135,000 in debt, a single mother, and forced to leave her home. Only 18 months later, she sold her image licensing business to Bill Gates in a multimillion dollar deal. Chelette is a nationally known ‘gender decoder’ who has appeared in over 60 radio shows, respected speaker, career coach, consummate creative entrepreneur, and author of Happy Woman Happy World. Beate is also the founder of The Women’s Code, a unique guide to women leadership and personal and career success that offers a new code of conduct for today’s business, private, and digital worlds. Determined to build a community of women supporting each other, she took her life-changing formula documented it all in a book Brian Tracy calls “an amazing handbook for every woman who wants health, happiness, love and success!”
Through her corporate initiative “Why Acting Like a Girl Is Good For Business” she helps companies with gender diversification training, and to develop and retain women.
If you’d like to book Beate as a speaker on New Leadership Balance or Creative Entrepreneurship for your next event please connect with me.