Many of us invest deeply in advancing our career, and as a result, we become very comfortable in the world of being productive, enjoying all the big and small rewards that come with that. Unfortunately, sometimes success in work can create a cycle of demand and reward that causes us to put even more time and energy into work at the expense of our private lives.
1. Become More Likeable
This is probably not what you expected me to say. 🙂 But it’s surprisingly true.
The more likeable you are in your personal life, the more positive feedback you’ll get from those around you. This causes a similar feedback loop to what you get at the office when you raise a good point in the boardroom. So yes, likability — it’s a thing.
You know, we’re often reminded in our culture of celebrating outliers and successful entrepreneurs that it’s important to “be ourselves,” and I agree. I definitely recommend being authentic and transparent. I’m not suggesting you abandon who you are in order to please others.
It turns out there is a secret formula to being liked. It doesn’t involve hiding who you are or attempting to please everyone around you. Want to know the secret? Here it is:
Assume from the outset that you are likeable.
Researchers have found that if you believe you are likeable, you’ll behave warmly toward others. This warmth draws others to you and, whether you cultivate many relationships or few, this warmth will result in people liking you. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Being liked can help provide the same kind of feedback reward loop you get in your professional life for a job well done, thereby encouraging you to continue to invest in your personal life.
More importantly, being liked sets the stage for all kinds of personal opportunities to flourish.
2. Prioritize Your Social Life
Instead of checking and rechecking email in your off hours, seek out situations where you can connect with others. Join a social club, schedule time for hobbies, and volunteer for endeavors that will get you away from screens and into the real world.
Writer and storyteller Chris Rackliffe makes the point that life is about shared experiences with people you feel comfortable with.
As a person who is constantly bringing couples together, I can say that this is true. That spark of romantic chemistry flourishes when both parties are able to truly receive the other in a spirit of fun and attentiveness — first on a superficial level, and later on a deeper level as the relationship begins to heat up. Being present and open helps you recognize that spark, and shared experiences fan the flame!
Chris nails it when he says:
Our society is obsessed with two things — fame and instant gratification. Social media reinforces a constant state of comparison to others that can make us feel like we aren’t doing enough or living a life that’s thrilling enough…You do not need a certain amount of likes or a certain amount of followers or a certain amount of anything to live a life that’s truly meaningful and fulfilling.
He recommends what he calls “stillness.” Prioritizing personal time and being present (ditch the screens, even the watch) allows space for more meaningful things to transpire.
Ask people out. Say yes to those who ask you out.
This seems so obvious, doesn’t it? You’d be surprised though how many wonderful, outgoing, successful individuals are simply too busy with the professional demands on their time to be able to decompress enough to embrace traditional dating.
These traditions have a lot going for them though! The more people you connect with face to face, the more opportunities you have to meet that one person you really click with.
It’s fine to meet through an app, but if you’re making your personal life a priority, commit to one or two real-life traditional dates a week (meaning hold off on the hookups) and make an effort to have enjoyable, shared experiences with others.
Let go of expectations and just enjoy getting to know someone IRL instead of online.
4. Listen to Yourself
What do you want from your personal life right now? Do you have a spiritual longing? Are you missing having fun, chill times with old friends? Wishing you had new friends? Looking for a steady and rewarding relationship? Ready for a lifetime partner?
If you’ve been neglecting your personal life in favor of your career, maybe you don’t know what you want right now. It can become a habit to hit the gym, stock up at whole foods, head home and then spend the rest of the weekend working.
That was the old you, though. This is the new you. The new you understands the value of a being a fully rounded person. Take some time to lay out your vision for a fulfilling personal life. What does it look like? Who are you with? How are you spending your time?
You’d never embark on an initiative at your firm without an end goal in mind, and milestones to hit along the way. Your vision for your personal life can be as simple as being outdoors more or as complicated as traveling the globe with an attractive partner who shares your interests.
Take the steps to know what it is, so that you can start to move in that direction.