Maybe this has happened to you.
I once worked for a senior Marine officer who made it very obvious that he did not like me – for example, when I would say good morning to him, he would walk on by me without making a reply. So, one day, I turned and followed him into his office, shut the door, and asked him straight out, “Sir, why don’t you like me?”
He stammered and stuttered and finally was able to say, “What gives you the impression I don’t like you?”
“Well, the fact that for the last three mornings I said good morning to you and you just walked by me without acknowledging my presence was a pretty good indication. Have I done something to offend you? Do you feel I am not living up to my potential? Surely, there has to be a reason for your behavior?” I just kept staring at him waiting for an answer.
“The truth is, Warrant Officer, I just don’t like you,” he finally admitted.
There it was. He just didn’t like me. No logical reason – no perceived slight for which I could apologize – no failure to complete a task properly – he just didn’t like me. So, what can you do when this happens to you? My solution was not what he expected. I looked him in the eye and explained a simple truth to him.
“Sir, you have that right. But you need to understand one thing. I am a great person and if you will take the time to get to know me, you will come to the understanding that I am, in fact, a great person. But, if you take the time to get to know me and you still do not like me, that is fine because one fact will never change and that is that I am a great person.”
With that, I left his office. And yes, in time he came around because of the most important part of the statement I made – I was committed to doing my absolute best and to perform at my best to live up to the words I had spoken.
In this day of bullying, cyber trolling, backstabbing to get ahead attitudes, and outright mean behavior, knowing who you are and living up to your own set of standards of excellence is your only defense.
So, the next time you are confronted with someone who is treating you badly and you know for sure there is no logical reason other than they just do not like you, remind yourself that you are a great person and then set out to prove it to everyone. You will be surprised at the difference it makes in your life.
And remember, I can tell you this because “I am a great person.”
You are a great person Len, because being humble often means they cannot see your confidence. Perhaps that particular officer felt threatened. Perhaps his behavior was based on personal insecurity. Even Marines are human, and you were right to put him in his place. Sometimes we need those instances in life to remind us that not everyone will play nice in the sandbox. For better or worse, the moment served to challenge you. Some would have ignored it, you chose to confront it. Kudos… I’ll bet that same situation or dynamic would never serve to intimidate you again. On his end, I hope that he also learned a valuable lesson… to treat all subordinates with equal dignity and respect. An officer should always remain professional. Perhaps your act squared him away for all future consideration… 🇺🇸
Aaron – Much of what you said in your comment was true. I was sent to this supply department because they had failed their annual inspection miserably. I was known for being the guy sent in to fix these supply departments. So, he knew of my reputation and resented my assignment. But I was determined to turn the department around and make him look good whether he liked it or not. Don’t know if he ever changed but I truly hope he did. Thanks for your comments.
Thank you for sharing this story. It is an excellent reminder of knowing our worth and speaking our truth. It’s easy for it to be side swiped by others, but so empowering when we take it back and hold our heads high and let our hearts be free.
Laura – Wonderful comment that fits into this discussion well. Thanks for talking the time to add your insights to this discussion.
Len, my dear fiend and master Storyteller you return with an inspiring message. You truly are great and to me a dear friend..
Larry – Thank you for your kind words. I have another story I am outlining in my head that I hope to get to publication before the break. Take care, my friend.
I have no doubt that you are a great person and that facing the situation with those who seem to deny it is absolutely right: I did it too in a case that happened to me. Better to say clearly how things stand.
However, I also think that doing your best means using habits, behaviors, attitudes already present in us. However, if the situation has changed, it is more challenging, if we enter a much more demanding managerial role, it may no longer be enough, on the contrary, we risk doubling our efforts, to always obtain the same results.
To progress and achieve much higher results, it is necessary to adopt another mental habit, that of doing the “best possible”. That is, adopting new behaviors, attitudes and strategies required in that situation to achieve higher goals. Doing the “best possible” means looking at the best there is in that sector and adopting the most effective habits. In this way we will see how our limits will be overcome by new skills expressed by more effective behaviors.
Thank you, my friend for your keen insights.
I enjoyed reading this article that in essence reminded us as readers of the importance of knowing who we are and recognizing our self-worth without arrogance.
We will always have critics and people will from time to time make us feel ‘less than..’ Confidence will keep us from absorbing their negativity. And faith.
Thank you, Len.
Yvonne – You added so much depth to the discussion with your insightful comment. Thanks for joining in.
Thanks Len for this insightful article, and all I will add is that when somone challenges me as not being a good person?, I take for the grain assault who it is that is attacking me, and then I walk away and pray for them, and that is my way of proving exactly that. We cannot pre-judge and yet that is what we do. Have a blessed Thanksgiving.
Lynn – Your added insights are greatly appreciated and added value to this conversation. Thanks.
Great way to illustrate the power of example to impact your own mindset. As well as to firmly and gently influence people in any situation.
Thanks for your story.
Thanks, Cynthia. Glad you enjoyed this piece.
Impressive, Dear Len Sir! And, what would you call another “Great Person” that recognized your ‘greatness’ through the very first interaction? Just a thought, out of curiosity
Thanks for the wonderful message, and Warm Regards
Thank you, Bharat. And I will always considered you a great person and a great friend. 😊
Len, this is a great reminder that people may have institutional “authority” over us. But they only have the power we give them. As the song says, “I’ve got the power.”
Thank you for sharing a great story and a much-needed reminder.
Mark – Your comment is spot on! Thanks for adding your experience and insight to this discussion.
Len: In my experience few people have the courage to do what you did. They take the easy way out and hide from the truth. Confronting adversity takes courage, self confidence, and a willingness to face the uncomfortable. The same issue that causes a manager to shy away from talking to an unhappy customer, guest, patron, or a less than satisfactory employee.
Ken – Great point. But if we allow this kind of behavior, we encourage it. I hope this article stirs others to take on this kind of injustice. Thanks for adding to the discussion.
This is a cool story Len. I had a Gunny that, when I reported in, told me that he didn’t think he would be able to work for a woman Marine. I asked him to give me a chance, and he became a wonderful mentor to me.
Carol – Another great example of letting someone know that they cannot pre-judge you when they do not know you. Thanks for sharing to add to the moral of my story.
Wow…Len, this is a powerful reminder of courage and truth. The courage to confront and the truth that you know at your core: You are a great person!!! #leadershipmatters
Carolyn – You summer it up perfectly – leadership matters.