What Will They Think?
Far too many freelancers suffer from it. And quite frankly, I think it’s the cause of many of the fears holding you back from success.
I’m talking about being an approval addict.
Personally, this has been the biggest thing I’ve been working to overcome. I’m convinced it’s THE root cause of the fears and insecurities many of us freelancers face.
When you’re a “people pleaser” and care too much about what others think:
- Marketing yourself leaves you feeling completely self-conscious and vulnerable to negative opinions and criticisms.
- You never feel quite ready to launch your business … and want to be “perfect” before you make your first move (after all, what if you make a mistake and a client isn’t happy with it?).
- You have a hard time saying no to projects and clients who aren’t a good fit for your business goals because you feel guilty and don’t want to offend them.
- You never reach your full potential because your actions are based on what you think will gain the approval of clients, family, friends, etc.
Regardless of how it manifests in your life and freelancing career, the bottom line is that caring too much about what others think allows fear to hold you back.
Realize that you don’t really have control over what people think of you.
You can’t please everyone, and there are simply too many factors that go into someone’s opinion. (For example, maybe you catch them on a bad day … so no matter how much you try to please them, it won’t make a difference either way.)
The only things you DO have control over are your own thoughts and behaviors.
So be kind to yourself. Recognize your accomplishments. See the value you bring to the table, and realize your worth is independent of what others think.
And be honest with yourself. Who do you want to be? What do you want to do? Are you trying to change who you are in an attempt to “fit in”? Don’t let yourself be influenced by what you think other people want you to be or do.
This self-reflection is important because far too many approval addicts put other people’s needs ahead of their own – in a way that is harmful to their own wellbeing and happiness.
In the world of freelancing, for example, maybe you’re considering getting a “real” job because everyone around you seems to disapprove of the path you’ve chosen. Or maybe you’re working on projects you don’t enjoy simply because you don’t want to lose a client or tell them no.
It’s scary to act in spite of what other people may think. But you’ll find that the more you do it, the easier it becomes to tear down the walls of fear that are keeping you from achieving your goals.
Start small if you need to …
For instance, say what you really feel in situations where you would normally keep quiet. Instead of always agreeing, offer a dissenting opinion, and give your reasons why. Wear something funky to work, and shrug off any comments you get.
Get creative with it. And most importantly, make sure it’s true to who you are as a person.
Irish writer and poet Oscar Wilde sums it up nicely:
“Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.”
Are you an approval addict? Share your story in the comments section.
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