The Values Choice: Choosing the Right Enemies

Did you ever meet anyone who had no enemies?

Unfortunately, by the time most people have lived long enough to become adults, they’ve accumulated more than a few enemies, probably even more than they’d like to admit. In fact, the more successful you become, the more enemies you’re going to have.

The question is not whether there will be enemies. You can’t please everybody. You cannot invest your self-worth solely in what others think about you – you would never achieve success. You have to keep focused on your goals and objectives, and when the enemies come along, don’t be surprised … welcome them. Enemies are a by-product of success.

As we work to succeed, it is generally human nature to want to be accepted and respected – even loved – by our co-workers, management and customers. But the truth is, you can’t please all the people all of the time, at some point you have to choose whom you aren’t going to please.

In no way am I suggesting that your goal should be to create enemies. What I am encouraging you to do is understand that others may choose to be your enemies. In many organizations, there may be a handful of individuals who seemingly thrive on controversy and seek out ways to create and inflame disputes. These are the enemies you will be forced to choose – those who are in conflict with your personal values.

People who disagree with you are not necessarily your enemies … unless their disagreement centers on the values you are trying to uphold.

So, ask the question: Who are my enemies?

In any business, the key to successfully dealing with your enemies is being able to identify who they are and understand why they have chosen to be your enemies. If they are enemies because they are jealous or threatened by your success, there is nothing you can do about that. If they are your enemies because of something that you have done to them in the past, address the situation and allow them the choice of leaving your enemy camp.

Choose your enemies … and your friends … very carefully. A bad choice can be devastating to your career.

Three things you can do to make the values choice:

  1. Surround yourself with people of like values, and maintain your allegiance to those values.
  2. Take the time to identify those who have chosen to be your enemies and make an effort to understand why. If they are your enemies because of something you have done in the past – address the situation. If they are your enemies because of their jealousy or value clash – move forward with caution, knowing they are your enemies.
  3. Understand you cannot please all the people all the time – and accept that differences in values will automatically make some people your friends and others your enemies.

Excerpted from Monday Morning Choices by David Cottrell.