There is nothing that can burst your bubble quicker about a splendid plan you are cooking up than worrying what everybody else will think about it. Want to leave your job, the coffee group, the country, the country club? Want to join the navy, the revolution, the circus? Your soul might be screaming, Hell YES!…but the handbrake goes on the instant you consider what other people might think about your choice.
Fear of criticism is inertia-inducing. It stops us in our tracks and it can suck the energy and enthusiasm out of a new direction in double time.
Here’s the thing.
Other than the people whose lives are directly impacted by your decision, who I hope you would talk through your splendid plan with courage and compassion – here are 4 good reasons to dial down that fear of what everyone is thinking about you.
- It’s none of your business what other people think about your new course of action. Yup. Like totally NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. What they think is the property of them. It’s a thought (or your assumption of what their thought might be) and it lives in their head. Not yours. Therefore, not your business. You cannot control what goes on in other people’s minds. You are not God. So, let other people own their own thoughts and take your focus somewhere more productive.
- Most of the time we are making assumptions about what they might think. Which may or may not be true. Your assumption of, “what on earth are you thinking? Big mistake. HUGE!” could actually be a, “Go girl!” if you actually asked the question. Don’t spend time worrying about an assumption. You really have better things to do. Like… oh yeah… getting working on your splendid plan!
- Pretty much no one did anything of serious significance that was not criticised first. Man was never going to walk on the moon. Decca said The Beatles were crap. JK Rowling’s Harry Potter got rejected by over a dozen publishers before Bloomsbury signed her. Being criticised is often PART of the journey to success. Can you be brave and embrace that uncomfortable facet of the ride?
- They are pretty much not thinking about you that much anyway. For reals. People are thinking about you and your life choices about 90% less than you think they are. They are totally tied up in their own stuff, in their own heads. Probably worrying about you judging their life choices! That “dance as if no one’s watching” line is on the money because most of the time no one really is. The majority of other people’s mental space is occupied by wondering if they are hitting the beat themselves. So, don’t sweat it.
The key is to not let the fear of criticism pull you off your course. Expend your mental energy where it can be of the most benefit. Hold fast and execute your splendid plan with enthusiasm, tenacity, and passion. Own your choice. People take their lead from you. So, talk about your choice with clarity and conviction. Lead the way, and they will follow. Be bold. Have faith. Back yourself. Leap.