Do you care too much about what others think?
As someone whose livelihood depends on people thinking well of me, I’m very conscious of what people might think about me. Will people like what I write or say? Will they think I’m too opinionated or that I harp on too much about being courageous?
If you’re like me, and most people I know, you also like to be liked. Nothing wrong with that! However sometimes we can let our desire to be liked – and our fear of being disliked, criticized or rejected – keep us from saying what we know needs to be said, from making a change, declining an invitation, setting a boundary or from simply expressing our individuality fully.
The irony is that when we worry about what ‘everybody will think’ our everybody is usually just a few key people whose admiration and acceptance we want. It’s far from everybody. And by letting our desire to win their approval determine our actions we unconsciously hand over our power to them.
Never let what others might think matter more than what you think!
While speaking at a women’s leadership event recently I talked about how important it is not to be driven by pleasing others. Afterward, a woman approached me and shared how she’s always struggled not to be too nice, but has realized that by failing to stand her ground over the years, and sometimes to assertively push forward her opinion, she’s ended up being railroaded and being passed over for promotions that have gone to more assertive colleagues.
I did a recent live video about this on Facebook. I hope you’ll watch it and then ask yourself
- Do I let what others may think matter more than what I truly want for myself?
- Do I agree to things to keep people happy, even when I really don’t want or need to do them?
- Do I let fear of disapproval keep me from saying, doing or even wearing what I truly want?
- Do I forge my own path, or the path others think I should take?
Of course I’m not encouraging you not to be thoughtful about how your actions will impact others. And I’m certainly not saying it isn’t good to be kind to those around you. Nothing is more rewarding than knowing your actions have positively impacted others. I’m simply encouraging you not to let what other people think matter more than what you think! What I know for sure is that every time you have the courage to do that, you give other people permission to be more brave themselves.
Now just imagine what our world would be like if more people didn’t spend so much of their lives stuck on a treadmill trying to win approval and admiration?