Are you a people pleaser like me? If so, you probably like doing things that will keep people happy. The thought of criticism or even a little anger thrown your way isn’t something you want happening very often, so you do your best to tow the line.
In reality, I think all women have a little bit of that people pleaser gene inside of them. That’s how we hold everything together, right? We’re the decision makers for the family, we are the go-to people when making plans, and we do it all while trying to make everyone in the group happy, comfortable and complete.
We’re usually so busy trying to keep those around us happy, in many cases we rarely take a good look at ourselves. Have you ever looked at something you’ve done or planned and really thought about why you did what you did? Is it because you enjoy it? Or is it because you know it will make those around you happy, regardless of how you really feel?
And its not just in our personal lives, its in every aspect of our lives, including our business lives.
I remember the very first negative comment I received on a blog post I wrote up.
“That’s the stupidest comment I’ve ever seen on this subject. You really don’t have a clue, do you? You better get your facts straight.”
It hurt. Okay, I’ll admit it; I actually shut down for days, not able to even think about going online.
Yet what I wrote in that post was what I truly believed. I wrote it with the best intentions. And even after the negative comment, I still fully believed in what I wrote. My critic had his thoughts, but I knew in my heart I was right.
Every day we face admiration and criticism.
Have you ever told a group of people about a new restaurant you loved, then had one person come back and say it was the best place they’ve ever eaten at, followed by another that said it was the worst?
How can that be?
It happens for a variety of reasons.
It may be because of current events. If you are having a bad day, the service may seem worse than ever, simply because you are putting unrealistic expectations on the situation. If you’ve just booked your best client ever, that same customer service may seem like the best service in the world, because you smile and are happy the entire time you are in the restaurant.
It may be because of history. Do you know the owner and get special treatment? Have you built a relationship with a certain server?
It can be different tastes. Lets face it, it would be a boring world if we all liked the same things.
But at the end of the day, we only tell people things, or make recommendations based on the belief that will be rewarded for our opinions. Very rarely do we set out hoping to cause disagreement with those around us. We like to please, no matter if we know the people or not.
When we’re online, we’re quick to realize that our opinions are spread out a lot wider then what we have access to in more traditional networks. If you share something on Facebook, for example, it can go viral and bring out all kinds of opinions, some good, some bad. Harsh criticism can be difficult even when it comes from a stranger. But what about when it comes from those closest to you?
What about when your mom, your brother, or your best friend says things like:
- “You’ve changed.”
- “I like the old you better. “
- “How could you do this to our friendship?”
- “That’s a stupid idea.”
- “Are you nuts? You know this will never work, right?”
Ouch. Sounds like a situation we would all like to avoid if at all possible.
Which is why many of us stop and don’t move forward with our Big Ideas, our big goals, are hidden desires, or are outrageous plans. We dream about them. We think about them day and not. We even create the plan on paper, then tuck it away in our journals for another day.
That, my friend, is what is holding you back.
But this is your hang up, not theirs. If you don’t decide to move forward, you’ll never know what you are truly capable of. And you’ll never see what you can truly create.
Your goal isn’t to please everybody. Your goal is simply to please yourself and do the best thing possible for you, right now, in the moment. Ignore everything else. If its been with you for a long time, you know its your future, you know you’re on the right path, then its time to put all those nay-sayers behind you.
Myth #1: Negative criticism provides you with guidance
Some people take the approach that they are only trying to help you. They don’t want to see you suffer. They want to be the ones who will be brutally honest with you and tell you what no one else will. Always remember people act on their own agendas. Their guidance may be the right path for them, but the wrong path for you.
Myth #2: Negative criticism may have value
This is assuming they have something intelligent to say. Not everyone talks to provide value. Some people like to talk even without thinking about what they have to say. And they don’t have constructive criticism, they simply like to talk in a negative way. They will make up anything to get you to listen and pay attention to them. And if something doesn’t seem to be working, they have no problem piling on the crap just to get you to listen.
Myth #3: It gets easier over time
No, not really. Especially in today’s harsh in-your-face world, when you see or hear anything less than positive, it can hurt. And people seem to be doling out the negativity faster than ever. Even if we love and respect those around us, when they say things that hurt, the easiest way to move forward is to put it into perspective. Maybe they are using harsh words because of their own fears or insecurities. If they tell you “you’ve changed”, remember we all change every day. If you are moving in one direction, they may be moving equally in an opposite direction. That distance is what is causing the friction, not your new path or your new choices. By discovering the true root of the problem, you can deal with it more appropriately.
Myth #4: You’ll lose everything
When family and friends start calling you out because they don’t understand your new path, it can be difficult at best. Especially when they start confirming your already deep-seeded fears that you can lose the security you’ve built around you. That’s true. But it may be the only way you can grow into the person you are set out to become. We’re all at risk of winning or losing every day. That’s life. But by making a change in your life that others don’t understand doesn’t put it at higher risk value than staying the same. Only you can evaluate that.
Do you see yourself in any of the above? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard things like “You’ve changed” or “You’re not really going to do that, are you?” Each time I heard it, I responded differently. The first time hurt and I shut down. The second time was easier.
Now instead of focusing in on their words, I look for ways to change and grow into the person I want to be. Often times that means finding a mentor, a friend, or even a group of people that are doing something similar to what I want to do. It helps to have like minded people around you as you transition to who you want to be.
It also helps to give me that added push I need to make the change last.
When I started up Vision Transformation, it was because I had a number of women around me in the “stuck” position, too nervous about seeing their Big Ideas grow, and unable to ask for help because they didn’t have a viable support system around them. They had a small concept inside, but didn’t know how for it to break free. Almost every one of them were living with one of the myths above. And very quickly we shattered the myth and helped them move on.
That’s what I love to do. Does that please everybody? Nope. Do I still get the less-than-positive notes from people not happy with my opinions? Of course. But I know those life-changing moments I see with my clients makes it all worth while.
If you’re ready to go down a path, have a new goal in mind, and really want to breathe life into this Big Idea of yours, there’s no better time than the present.
Its time to put your goals, dreams and aspirations above all else. It’s the only way to become who you are truly meant to be. What are you waiting for?