We carry the weight of other people’s opinions and expectations on our shoulders.
What does my manager expect of me?
If I speak up in the meeting and correct them, will my colleagues think I’m a bitch?
If I ask for help, will they think I’m weak and can’t handle the responsibility?
How will strangers on social media react if I post my thoughts online?
What will my mum think of me swearing in my blog posts?
It’s natural. People are designed to belong in a group, so what others think of us matters.
But when we try to fit in, we change who we are into something that we think we should be.
And you can’t truly belong when we are inauthentic. It is only when we are ourselves, and stop being driven by what others think – or what we think they think – that we can be at our best.
For a long time I was not at my best. I planned conversations in advance (both sides) because I wanted to get it right so that people would think well of me.
I held myself back from doing a lot of things because I was so busy caring what would others would think. So much of my energy went into thinking.
So what happened when I stopped giving a fuck about all that?
Well, what does it mean to stop giving a fuck? Basically it means to first consider what you want, what aligns with your values and purpose, and go from there. Start from within.
And of course there are people who’s opinions really matter, and you take them in to consideration. But basically you decide.
Firstly, I relaxed.
It felt so good. I had room to breathe, think, be myself.
Secondly, all those “wouldn’t it be cool if I…” ideas I keep having? Well I started taking action on them.
I experimented. Some worked out, some didn’t. so I tweaked and tried again, and got better results.
Third, I became more confident.
I valued myself. And because I was taking action and seeing results, I had proof that at least some of my ideas were good.
Fourth, I started asking for help.
This was major. Huge impact, and one of the biggest contributors to my success. Because I was’t worried about how it would look, I wasn’t afraid to ask for help. Now I actively look for allies or partners for things I’m doing because it’s so much fun and I love what you can achieve when you collaborate.
Fifth, I started doing cool things that align with my purpose.
Like set up a community for coaches and establish a Foundation for them.
Like land a project to coach and train a faculty of 60 to develop their mental fitness.
Like coach senior leaders, engineers, artists. Whoever I wanted to because that’s what I want to do.
Life is so much better when you don’t give a fuck about what everyone else thinks. Being authentic takes a lot less energy too.
This is part of my Thought Piece Series, where I explore topics related to leadership and provide both answers and questions. My intention is to start meaningful conversations that help us move forward. Want to connect? Click here.