I used to worry a lot about what people thought about me.
I was a people-pleaser.
After a high-level leadership discussion, one of the more senior executives in my former company said to me, “Tina, not everyone likes you”. He was involved in discussions with execs who were a level above me in the corporation. I think he wanted to share it with me because we were friends, but his delivery was awkward and it landed on me in a weird way. First of all, he shouldn’t have shared it, and secondly, I didn’t know what to do with that information.
I was confused because the way that other people perceived me really mattered. It shouldn’t have, but it did.
I went through a litany of self-doubt and analysis about what people didn’t like about me. It was distracting and disturbing.
And then I got a clue.
If I was pleasing everyone else, I wasn’t pleasing myself.
If I was doing everything in a way that didn’t rock the boat, I wasn’t making a difference.
If I was too predictable, I wasn’t breaking out to try different things.
It became a turning point for me.
I wanted to know why I cared so much about what other people thought.
It felt like a safe place.
I didn’t have to take risks.
I thought I needed their approval and wouldn’t be happy without it.
I was bullied in grade school. It had a profound effect on me.
I emerged differently in my junior year in high school. I was more popular, but no less worried about what people thought.
I felt the other shoe would drop at any point and others would discover my insecurities.
How did I get over that? Well, the first question is “did I ever get over that?”.
For the most part, I have. But remnants remain.
I have LEARNED not to care about other’s perceptions, except where they are linked to my core values.
I want someone who coaches with me to perceive that I am trustworthy.
I want someone who does business with me to perceive that I act with integrity.
I want someone who works with me to perceive that I respect confidentiality.
That’s quite different from worrying about the perceptions of all of those whom you encounter.
How can you make this breakthrough for yourself in a way that feels comfortable and personal?
I am offering you 5 Ways to Stop Caring About What Other People Think. See what works for you:
- KNOW YOUR CORE VALUES AND ILLUSTRATE THEM DAILY – I shared how I used my core values to determine where I should care about what others thought about me. When you know what is important in your life, you can use it to sort through the feedback from others and figure out what you should care about.
- UNDERSTAND WHAT MAKES YOU GREAT – When you know what makes you great, you will be less vulnerable to the perception of others. Each of us has a set of unique skills and talents. If we take each of these skills and talents in isolation, they are probably not as great as looking at the combination we offer to the world. Get clear on what makes you great and refer to it when you are feeling less than confident.
- HAVE A CLEAR VISION FOR YOUR LIFE – Creating a clear vision for your life allows you to stay on track. When you sense some “less than positive” perceptions from others or receive some uncharitable feedback, you can refer to your vision to see if it matters. Get out of your head and drop into your plan, your vision. It provides a touchstone for reference about what should matter and what is irrelevant.
- GET COMFORTABLE WITH DISRUPTION – If you’re too predictable or too safe, it’s hard to make a difference. Disruption takes courage and life leadership. Know that when you step out to do something brave and different, others around you may react negatively. Their reaction is about the discomfort you are causing for them – you are challenging their comfort zone. Press on and do what you need to do. Don’t allow others to hold you back.
- STOP ALLOWING OTHERS TO PROJECT THEIR INSECURITIES ON YOU – When you do something that hits a nerve for someone else, their feelings can definitely be reflected in their response. If you are doing something that someone else secretly would love to try, they may have a negative response. This can come from their own disappointment in themselves and their lack of personal courage. It’s your life and you have more than enough other challenges, so don’t allow the insecurities of others to guide your actions.
If any of this is resonating with you, meaningful personal change is probably in your future. The best way to prepare yourself for a successful, sustainable change state is to know where you are today. I’ve designed a quiz to help you do just that – get a sense of where you are today. It will take you only a few minutes, but you’ll receive some important insights about what elements of your life are going great and where you have some opportunities. Click on the link below to take my free quiz!
I’m Tina Meilleur and a Leadership and Business Mentor, author and speaker. I am also the founder of Design Your Success and the Academy for Business Success. My mission is helping high achievers match their desires, skills and experiences with success on their terms. My “Next Chapter” program and CRAVE™ process are systematic approaches for making simple “tweaks” or orchestrating a total reinvention. I am the author of Your Next Chapter: Five Steps to Creating the Life of Your Dreams to help others build anything they want into their life. I have a CPA designation in the State of Louisiana and received my MBA from Tulane University in their Executive MBA program. I’m a highly sought-after mentor, coach, facilitator, and speaker. You can reach out to me at Tina@DesignYourSuccess.com.