At the core of business, it’s all about people. We have daily interactions with our customers, colleagues, employees, suppliers, and lots and lots of people. But too often we live by other people’s standards. We believe that there is an expectation of certain behaviours, actions and subsequent outcomes. When we try to live up to these expectations we will never be successful nor truly happy.
Because we are not being authentic to our inner voice; listening to what it is that we really and truly would like to think, say and do.
To be ourselves in our business and our life.
Of course we should listen to the needs of our customers, clients and beyond. Without our customers we have no business. However, the first conversation needs to be with ourselves. What is it that we need? What is it that we would like to achieve? Furthermore, this leads us to be able to have the courage to be able to rid ourselves of toxic customers and business relationships that do more harm than good (or people/ friendships in our broader life too).
I have always admired people who don’t get affected by what other people thought. It’s not that they didn’t care but their inner voice was strong. They understood and knew who they were, what they believed in and had a strong inner voice. Their courage continues to inspire and motivate me to live that way.
So how can we all work towards caring less about what other people think and be more authentic in our day-to-day lives?
1. Inner voice. We all have one but often it gets drowned out by all the noise of the world. Take the time to stop and listen. What is it telling you? Furthermore, make the time to minimise noise to give yourself the space to hear what you really need and listen! Whether you go for a walk without music and just listen to your steady stream of thoughts to meditating to quiet the mind. Find the way to hear yourself. And most importantly, LISTEN!
2. Why do you care? There are many reasons why we care what people think and understanding your motivations is key to unlocking the chains to living by other people’s expectations. It could be fears. Fears of “what will they think”, judgement or not being good enough. Possibly it is the need for acceptance. Or sometimes we want to be people pleasers and make everyone else happy before we focus on our own needs. Sometimes it can be a combination. This clarity will then set you on a path of releasing those inner demons to create strategies for living a more authentic life based on your needs and expectations rather than being motivated by what other people think.
3. Your value. By living by other people’s expectations and standards we diminish our own value and self-worth. We need to re-empower and value ourselves in the equation of interaction with the world. Whether that be in a business or a personal sense. Each of us brings value to the equation but can be unclear on what that value is. Find it. Be clear on it. Own it. Sounds clichéd but it is true. Many of us (especially women) don’t know our true value and see ourselves as lesser than.
4. Setting a new path. It is easy to write a few steps on how to change your life but the truth is it is never that simple. We are ingrained from a young age to live up to the expectations of our parents/ siblings/ teachers/ friends and anyone of influence in our lives. However as we have grown into our adult selves many of us still harbour these expectations, and it can impact our daily lives quite dramatically. Getting the support you need in your journey is not a sign of weakness rather one of strength. Sometimes we can’t do it alone. And that is OK. Whether that be your support network or by seeking more professional guidance in a coach or a counsellor, either way, by taking action you are shifting the path towards a more authentic life. A life that is driven by your passions and goals, not those imposed by others (even if it is via expectations and not overt). Furthermore, it can be a long bumpy journey to freeing yourself but nothing of true meaning in our lives comes easy. Only through turbulence, change and difficult times can we metamorphosis into our new state of being.
Natalie has over 20 years experience as an HR and Learning & Development professional across government, education and the corporate sector. She is also the founder of Launch Pod and most recently the CEO of FlexCareers. She is passionate about economically empowering women and driving real change in the world to make it a better place for her two children