“Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity.” – Colin Powell

This past Christmas one of my favorite cousins was back in town from college.  We had talked several times about meeting up for the holidays.  It was something that I looked forward to.

I picked up the phone and dialed him.  He seemed “busy” and was short.  No worries.  I’m like that often as my phone typically rings off the hook during the week.

At any rate, I texted my cousin that night and asked “hey, when is a good time to meet up?”   A few hours later I received a curt text back “what do you want?”  I did a double at the text to make sure I wasn’t texting the wrong person.  No, it was my cousin.  “What do you want?”  WTF kindof response is that???

I texted him back and asked what his deal was?  Nothing back.  Christmas and New Years passed.  Still nothing.

Moments like this call for introspection.  Did I say something wrong to offend him?  Or did I miss a birthday?  What was it?  After much thought and consideration, I realized that my cousin was upset that I didn’t buy him a car.

Yes, I had thought about it long and hard.  Even made a commitment to help him find a car, perhaps even finance it.  At the end of the day I decided against it.  It was more of a personal decision than a financial decision – there were several ventures that I wanted to invest more money into.  Additionally, it was not my place to buy my cousin a car.  That’s his place.

The “cousin” situation caused me pause.

In life, it is absolutely critical to surround yourself with positive people.  As you succeed, positive people are genuinely happy for you and want to be a part of your success.  Make them a part of your success.  Pass some of your success back their way.  But be cautious as to who you share your success stories with – family especially.

Justin Singletary once said “you’ve gotta bait the hook to suit the fish.”  Haters come in many different forms.  Here is a list of how to deal with haters in the following groups:

Family

This is an important one.  When you start crushing it, long lost family members will start popping up.  They’ll ask you for loans, or for help financially.  If you’re in the position to give, keep a few things in consideration.

– It’s your right to say no.  If your family member is putting pressure on you and giving you ultimatums, do not issue the loan.
– When you loan the money out, just assume that it’ll never get repaid.  Don’t let the loan destroy your relationship if it’s not repaid.
– Set boundaries and stick by them.  If it’s a 1 time loan then stand by that.

In the case of my cousin, I’ve chosen to remove myself from any type of future relationship.  When we see each other next, I’ll be amicable, but I sure as hell won’t go out of my way for him.

(UPDATE:  My cousin and I eventually got together and worked things out.  I believe in second chances in life, and have extended my full support to my cousin again.  Blood runs thicker than water.)

Friends

Make sure to never make your friends feel inadequate.  That’s why I think it’s important to live a humble lifestyle.  If all of a sudden you start driving new hummers (been there) or sports cars, some of your friends will start to look at you differently.  Jealousy is a part of human nature.

Just remember that most of your friends won’t succeed to the level you have.  If you build your direct response campaign properly, you’ll hit their year’s salary in a week.  That doesn’t make you better than them, so don’t let it get to your head.   Moreover, don’t ever let them know how much money your making.

Colleagues

As you excel in your career there’s a good possibility that a lot of people you’ve worked with will get left in the dust.  i.e. A few weeks ago I was in a Mercedes dealership looking to pick up a new ride.  Low and behold this really tall man walked up to me and said “RICH GORMAN!!!”  It startled me.  I didn’t recognize the dealer.  At second look I realized it was a buddy of mine from high school.

We got talking and he asked how things were.  Good I said.  Just working an average career and dreaming of a new vehicle, yada yada.

His life’s road is already paved, and the cap that he’ll make is pretty low as a car salesman.  There’s no need for me to boast about the success of my consulting agency or the new ventures (or adventures if you will) that I’m enjoying.  All that would do is create a hater out of my old buddy.

Competition

Only a fool makes an enemy out of his competition.  Sure, our goal at Direct Response is to crush our competitors.  We want 1st place and will accept nothing less.

Competiton will suffer losses from your success.  Don’t gloat about it in front of their face.  Stay humble.  When they congratulate you congratulate them back, and be genuine.

Don’t succumb to pity though.  We live in a laissez faire capitalist society, where the best man wins.  It’s not a matter of being black, white, or green, it’s a matter of performance.  If a competitor comes to you begging for mercy, politely tell them to fuck off.

Your Customers

Keep in mind that the greatest companies in the world have had their asses sued hundreds of times.  From Microsoft to McDonalds, the larger you become the larger the target on your back becomes.

Run a clean business and accept the fact that you’re going to screw up.  We all do.  It’s all a matter of how you handle yourself when you do.

If you’re in the wrong, make things right.  If you’re in the right, stand steadfast in your resolve.

I’ve been known to risk my life, even my freedom, if I believe in something.  Someday when I’m long gone I hope that people remember me as a man that stayed steadfast in his resolve, even amongst adversity.

There’s always going to be haters.  For many hating is the way to making themselves feel better about their pathetic lives.  A lot easier to find fault in others versus looking in the mirror, right?

Surround yourself with positive people.  Listen to those who have legitimate constructive criticism.  Identify the haters in your life – then summarily evict them from renting space in your mind.