“Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, being nothing” ~Aristotle
The need for approval kills freedom.
Trust me, I know, because I spent my entire life seeking approval until I realized it was a waste of time and didn’t work anyway. The desire to get people to like me motivated the majority of my choices and actions in early life.
Queen of social chameleons, I mastered the art of telling people what they wanted to hear and being someone they would find impressive—all the while worrying incessantly about what others thought of me, fearing criticism, and holding myself back as a result.
When I first started building my coaching business, this craving for acceptance caused me to hide from opportunities where the potential for reward was high, but the possibility for criticism was equally large.
As an example, one of my first client referrals was to coach the CEO of a major corporation. It’s painful to admit that I told my client I wasn’t the right person for the job and referred the person to someone else.
My need for approval created immense anxiety about the value I provided for my clients and caused me to spend far too much time on tasks in order to perfect them.
It got to the point where I was wasting so much time and losing so many opportunities that I had to make a big decision: either let the business go or learn how to get over myself!
Fortunately I chose the latter option. I created a plan to learn to let go of needing others’ approval (well, at least letting go enough that it would no longer sabotage my success). Here I am, seven years later, running the same business with much greater ease and success as a result.
Can you relate to these issues?
Do you constantly make choices to avoid disapproval or criticism, rather than what is most valuable, effective or important to you?
Do you hold yourself back from speaking your opinions, or hide your true self?