Do you a remember when the teacher used to ask a question that was so difficult, not a single person raised a hand to answer it? When the teacher finally stopped waiting and revealed the answer, you cringed in your seat. You knew the correct answer all along.
You were fairly confident you had the right answer, but just in case you were wrong, you decided not to raise your hand. “I knew it!” you whispered to your friend sitting next to you. “Sure,” he replied with skepticism.
The truth is that you didn’t have the courage to raise your hand. You didn’t deserve to be recognized for your ability because you didn’t have enough confidence to demonstrate it. That’s how life worked for all of us as young boys—and how it continues to work for us as men.
That same courage and confidence are what separate leaders from followers. They are what separate alpha males from less dominant and beta males.
We can all relate to the school-days scenario, but how many of us realize just how much that same mind-set might be negatively affecting us as men today?
It takes courage to be a leader. It takes a tremendous belief in yourself and your ability to take the action needed to differentiate yourself from your competition. You must be willing to take action even when it might make you look bad in front of other people.
Being a leader is all about confidently stating your opinions even when you know people won’t always agree with you. Being a leader is about taking a stand on an issue even if others will view it as unpopular.
The truth is that most men aren’t mentally or emotionally prepared to deal with the downside of being a leader. My MANformation program offers powerful and effective strategies for getting you to think and act like an alpha male. You can follow my helpful advice, experience its usefulness and benefit from it in your everyday life. If you aren’t mentally and emotionally prepared for everything that comes with being a leader, though, you won’t stay motivated to be effective.
Anytime you have an opinion or take a stand, some people will disagree with you. If they disagree strongly enough, other people might be led into disliking you.
How important is it to you to be liked? What lessons did you learn growing up as a little boy about getting along with others?
Most men would naturally believe that they properly value other people’s opinions of them. Besides, there has to be some benefit to everything we do in life at some level—or we wouldn’t do it. So, I certainly understand that striving to be liked has benefits.
If you were 100 percent honest with yourself, how much is being liked by other people a priority? How does your desire to be liked by other people stack up against your desire to share your brilliance with them? Most important, is how you currently value those desires hurting more than helping you experience the life you really want?
The alpha male has such a strong belief in who he is, what he’s all about and what he has to offer the world that he is mentally and emotionally prepared to take on the negative opinions of other people. His desire to share his ability and brilliance with the world is much stronger than his desire to be liked.
Less dominant and beta males grew up being taught that getting along with other people is a major life priority. They accepted and firmly implanted that lesson into their belief system. As grown men they have trouble when other people challenge them. They often recoil from what they believe to be true, just like the hesitant little boy in class who knew the right answer but wouldn’t raise his hand.
Some men are so locked into the goal of being liked, they don’t consider what that goal is costing their quality of life. That way of thinking is totally understandable but ineffective if you want the best options in life. Peak performance specialist Anthony Robbins talks about people’s natural human need to be unique in some way, shape or form. People need to be able to differentiate themselves from the masses and see themselves as more than just another brick in the wall. Robbins also talks about the need to be connected to other people, to be accepted by other people and belong to a group.
Unfortunately, those two needs conflict with each other. The minute you achieve your goal of becoming special, unique and different from other people, you’ll disconnect from some of them. You’ll no longer blend in as easily with the rest of the pack. That’s just how human nature works.
Sure, everyone wants to be liked. Well, at what price? How is putting so much importance on being liked working for you? I’m sure you’ve noticed that, no matter how hard you try, you can’t please everyone. The result is that you didn’t please yourself or everyone else in the process.
Courageous people become leaders. Boldness is rewarded. The risk takers stand the greatest chance of enjoying the very best options in life.
To become an effective leader, you must muster the courage to be yourself and state your beliefs and opinions confidently—instead of holding back because of your fear of what other people may or may not think. It helps when you totally believe in what you say and do—and I don’t mean that you “sort of” believe but what you believe 100 percent with your mind, body and soul and with every fiber of your being. When you strongly believe in what you say and do, you will become oblivious of what other people think and say about you and your opinions most of the time.
Being the “nice guy” that everyone likes won’t create an extraordinary life. It will keep you in the middle of the pack—and out of the way of the more ambitious, aggressive and assertive people. The leaders will take charge and tell you what to do and how to think. That’s not what you want, is it?
You can’t worry about being liked when you offer your honest opinion—especially in the short term. Think about that. Some of the best lessons of my life have come from people I initially didn’t like. Isn’t that your experience as well?
Are you ready to be a leader?
Go back in time for a moment. What would it have really mattered back in school if you’d raised your hand and gotten the answer wrong? Well, you can’t go back in time, but you can make sure that you courageously “raise your hand” and share your brilliance with the rest of the world from this day forward.
—Skip La Cour
Editor’s note: Six-time national-champion bodybuilder and success coach Skip La Cour is the creator of MANformation, a powerful personal-development and fitness program for men that is based on the qualities and actions of the world’s most powerful, influential and charismatic men. It is a structured series of alpha leadership strategies for transforming you into the man you really want to be. It doesn’t matter where you are in your life right now, what you have achieved so far or your age. The MANformation program will help you become a better version of you—step-by-step and one strategy at a time. For more information, visit www.MANformation.com. Sign up for the free weekly e-newsletter, and you’ll get a free alpha leadership e-book.