All my life, I’ve had this fear in the back of my mind. I’ve struggled with it, made my peace with it, and then looped back to wrestling with it once again.
I don’t know if I’m normal or if I’m different. But I’ve always been afraid of people knowing this about me. So, of course, the rational thing to do is to post a blog about it on the internet where it will remain forever. Brilliant!
And so, I’m about to reveal a potentially embarrassing fact about myself because I believe that through this you will learn something about yourself and it will help you get over some of your persuasion roadblocks.
The genesis of this blog post begins when I was on the phone with a dear friend.
It had been months since we last spoke. She has a one year old who had medical difficulties after birth. He spent the first few months of his existence in the hospital. After he was cleared to go home, they have had regular doctors’ visits and in-home therapy sessions. Not to mention all the normal work that goes behind raising a human being – sleepless nights, breastfeeding, and endless diaper changing. So, the gaps in between our girl-talk time is completely understandable.
The great thing thought is that whenever we do talk, we always have amazing “a-ha!” moments together. There is no surface level. We always get to the good shit. We share recent realizations and struggles. That’s why I cherish her and our conversations.
On our last call, we somehow veered into a discussion about friendships. And that’s when I shared my dirty little secret.
Ok, here it goes…
I don’t have a lot of friends.
I’ve never been that person who has a large circle of friends. I can count the number of people who I truly call “friend” on one hand (and maybe not even use all the fingers).
To be honest, I feel a bit embarrassed about it.
I remember watching Sex and the City and thinking, “Wow. It sure looks nice for 4 woman to regularly hang out, support each other, and all consider each other friends.” I’ve never had that. My close friends are often from different parts of my life and they rarely, if ever, have met each other.
I’ve tried to mimic the behaviors of uber-social people, and it just hasn’t worked out for me.
For as long as I can remember, I have felt like if people were to know this about me, they’d think that I’m odd. That something is wrong with me. (And, who knows, maybe I am and maybe there is.)
But here is where the interesting “a-ha!” came from…
Who is Really Judging You?
When I look at my friendships, I’m happy to have them, even if they are few in numbers.
I am at peace with my very few but very meaningful relationships.
The only time I question and feel guilty is when I speculate how others would judge me.
Allow me to break that down further…
I’m happy and content with how things are. … However, I become afraid and ashamed when I evaluate it through the eyes of “someone” who would possibly be judging the same thing that I was perfectly happy with only moments ago.
So, it’s not that I’m uncomfortable with my choices. Instead, I’m uncomfortable with how I think someone else might be uncomfortable with my choices.
Isn’t this what we do to ourselves all the time?!
We question our decisions and desires NOT based on our internal compass, but rather on the perceived compass of the pretend people in our minds!
What would happen if you chose to be happy with your choices?
If you are always second guessing your desires, you’re training your brain to never trust yourself. You’ll never be able to look inward, acknowledge what you want, and take action because your brain will automatically trigger the thought “Well, what would your mother think of that? OR Won’t your colleagues think that that’s stupid? OR That’s not what everyone else does.”
And once that pattern has traction, how can you expect to tap into your creativity? How can you possibly find flow?
You’ve created an obstacle course for your thoughts to zigzag through before they ever even reach the surface.
I see this especially in the entrepreneurial space. So many fantastic people with brilliant gifts and ideas halt their efforts before they start. They look at the idea with their “what would people think” filter.
The inspiration is empowered, yet the execution is hindered.
Look, I get it. I’m not sure if it’s completely possible to stop the notion of “what would people think.” Maybe there are some highly enlightened monks in the Himalayas who have accomplished it, but I’m not choosing to live my life in the Himalayas.
You can still recognize it and control it.
Stop the Voices in Your Head
I think that to take a hold of the reins of these limiting thoughts, it boils down to two things…
- To thine own self be true.
Damn, that Shakespeare dude sure was smart. Trust yourself. Trust that you are a good person. Trust that you are worthy of your ideas. Trust that you have the best intentions. Trust that if something works for you it doesn’t mean that it has to work for everyone else. Trust that if something works for someone else, you’re not a scum-sucking worthless human being if it doesn’t work for you. It just means that you’re different. You have different needs, criteria, and goals. Trust that you are always doing the best with what you have at the time.
- Serve the goal, not the gawker.
Your life is not a spectator sport for others. You are not an animal in a zoo with people walking by the plexiglass pointing and staring. You are a creator! You are an energetic force to be reckoned with. Your actions and decisions shape the world around you. Always serve your goal. Your choices must be aligned with who you are and what you want to accomplish. If you shift that for the appeasement of some spectator who has little to do with your life in the first place, then even if you accomplish what you set out for, you won’t enjoy it in the same way. You have shaped yourself in imitation of them, instead of creating your own version of you. An original masterpiece will always be worth more than a forgery.
Why the Voices Hold You Back from Your Influential Power
If you are regularly cutting the pathway between idea and execution and then detouring it through the winding road of “How would so-and-so say this?,” then you will never develop the neural pathways needed for truly inspired work.
By holding back and second guessing, you are diminishing how you show up in the world. You are presenting a diluted self.
The reason why many of the people you admire have gained success is because they found a way that worked FOR THEM. Trying to use their same tactics, tone, and strategies will never yield the same results because you are not them. You can never be. Find peace with that because they can never be YOU.
I can tell you candidly that I have held back the momentum of my business because for YEARS I was trotting down the path I thought I should be on. I was following step-by-step the marketing plans laid out by whichever guru of the time, even if the steps felt wrong, out of alignment, or just not like me. I thought I just had to stay stubborn and push through until I get the results I wanted. But those results would never come because I wasn’t being ME. On top of that, I wasn’t enjoying it! So, what the hell was the point?!
It wasn’t until I took an honest look at what I enjoyed, what I was good at, and what would be fun that I started seeing breakthroughs. More income. Better clients. Fun projects.
Charisma is part of the influential equation. People are attracted to charismatic people. Charisma and authenticity go hand in hand. So, if you’re pulling away from your authenticity because of what you believe others might think about your honest approach, then you’re also cutting off your charisma.
No wonder there is a struggle.
No wonder people aren’t convinced.
Stop the Madness and Just Be Honest with Yourself
When I considered my friendships, I asked myself, “what is it that I want?”
I want quality friends who I can completely be myself with. I want friends who will be there for me in times of crisis, and I would do the same. I want friends who I connect with on multiple levels. Not multiple friends I connect on one level.
When I remove the faceless, hypothetical person who may judge my small pool of friends, I’m totally fine with my choices in who I call friend. In fact, I’m proud of them. So, why would I incorporate that pretend judge in my equation for happiness?
Why are you including the pretend judge in your equation for business? Marketing? Success? Happiness?
They haven’t earned the right to hold that much of your headspace. The pretend judge is a parasite. It’s draining the life out of you. Starve it out by taking action with your inspired thoughts.
Life is so much more fun when you do!
If you’ve found this helpful or if you’ve had an a-ha! moment from this article, let me know by liking and leaving a comment on this facebook thread: