There are two sides to the good side.

It is a strange phenomenon — this desire for the good side. We want always to present our good side to the world around us.  And, we want to be on the good side of the people whom we meet and with whom we work.

  • It is a natural tendency.  We want to be liked and admired.
  • It is also influenced by cultural norms.  (i.e., Star Wars – the “dark side” is not the team you want to be on when the series finally comes to an end.  If it ever does come to an end.)

The “Good Side” has two sides: our image and our influence.



We work very hard to give the impression that our lives are all together and worthy of admiration. Don’t we?

We comb our hair, brush our teeth, and dress for success before going out in public. (Unless we’re running to Walmart for a gallon of milk.  In that case, pajamas are just fine).  When people ask how we are doing, the standard answer is “I’m fine, thanks for asking.” Even though sometimes, we are not doing well. And then, of course, there is the image we portray on social media. The rule is to post only the best photos of our smiling faces, happy quotes, and the occasional picture of us standing in front of expensive cars (which we snapped while at the dealership after hours).  We wouldn’t dare post pictures of what we see in the mirror first thing in the morning! Nor would we want our “tribe” to see that we’re eating another baloney sandwich, instead of dining at a 5 Star resort.

Our brand message has to portray the image we want people to believe.  After all, what you see is what you get.

But, what about transparency — authenticity — truth?

I know a lady that works diligently to make everyone think that her life is perfect. She is stylish and phony.  She hobnobs with the famous and fools no one.  Her relationships are shallow, and her reputation causes people to roll their eyes, while she looks for the next opportunity to appear “successful” in her own eyes.

I’m not trying to be cruel.  I want to make the point that the superficiality of an image can destroy any trust we might hope to establish. The people who have the most influence in person and online are comfortable in their skin.  They have highs and lows, great days and hardships, success and failure. Most importantly — they don’t hide their reality, while at the same time they don’t “air the dirty laundry” for the whole world to see.

The good side is not an image — it is a reputation for being honest, honorable, and humble in all circumstances.

ACTION STEP:  Take a few minutes to evaluate your “image” offline & online. Is your reputation propped up with gloss and glamour, or is it a picture of a genuine person? The latter is the one who will have the most influence.


The other side of the “Good Side” is the strong desire we have to be in good standing with other people.

We don’t want our personal or professional relationships to be strained. We prefer to have positive interactions, peace, and a sense of agreement. When there is a misunderstanding, we make an effort to clear the air and make things right.  Unresolved tension might be useful in a Broadway play, but even that drama begs for a solution before the end.  We, generally speaking, don’t want drama in our lives; so we will seek to influence the circumstances through collaboration or compromise. We will do whatever it takes to keep on the good side.

Well – maybe not whatever it takes.

Some relational situations will exhaust all of your best intentions and efforts.  No matter what you do, you will not be able to find a fair balance of give-and-take.  The other individual could be demanding, demeaning, or deliberately “sideways” on every issue.  For some reason, they thrive in being negative and get a twisted sense of joy from being the devil’s advocate. They don’t seem to have a good side because they have perfected the art of their bad side.  

I find it fascinating that you and I can get caught up so quickly in a one-sided attempt to get on the good side of people who pride themselves in their “bad side” attitudes. It isn’t worth it, is it? Their negativity will drag you down, hold you back, and — dare I say – tarnish your image.

Seek to fill your life with people who genuinely listen to you, consider both sides, and will laugh with you when the “picture-perfect” image includes a goofy look, bbq sauce on your chin, and that old high school photo of when you had tons of hair!

ACTION STEPS:  1) Determine if the individual you are trying to influence toward a positive outcome is open-minded or chronically resistant. If they are not open, close that door.  2) Examine your motives for wanting to be on their good side. Let it go and walk away if your reason is “image” related.


~  Steven Iwersen  |  Keynote Speaker, Author of “The Porcupine Principles!”, Relational Leadership Expert

To book Steven for your company or organization event – contact 913-406-3824 today.

To learn more about my Five Principles for leading people through significant change, check out my new book THE PORCUPINE PRINCIPLES!  Your efforts to get to the finish line are never easy. There will be obstacles that will test your patience and resolve.  The principles shared in this book will give you a new perspective and the courage to move toward a mutual win!