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This is How I Started to Give Less F**ks About What Others Think of Me

I sometimes worry too much about what others think of me.

Did I sound too nice?

Did I not sound nice enough?

Was that ok?

Thankfully I’ve gotten better at this with age. Listening to my own voice is way more empowering; however, other people’s thoughts of me can still be a massive roadblock.

Maybe I really hate disappointing others or maybe I just want to be liked, and when I’m outside of my comfort zone (almost every day) the “Oh no! Don’t hate me!” feeling shows up.

Regardless, it’s exhausting. It’s also a waste of time and energy and ultimately takes me away from what I want to do most. I think we can all benefit from giving less f*cks whether you’re searching for a new job and the job search is demoralizing or you’re just now launching your business and have to go find customers. 

If you’ve ever worried about how others perceive you this article is for you. Here are the three things I’m doing to care less about what others think of me. (It’s super liberating!)

Stay the course

“Just keep going.” I hear this a lot as an entrepreneur, but it’s relevant regardless of what you’re trying to accomplish.

Staying the course doesn’t only lead to incremental improvements in your process and new skills. It builds self-awareness on a deep level. You get to know yourself really, really well.

For example, I realized I cared too much about what others thought of me 10+ years ago when I started college. And I made changes.

But somehow this roadblock shows up time and time again, and only as I stay the course do I realize I still have work to do.

In the past several months I’ve written about extremely vulnerable topics on this blog (e.g. nearly sabotaging myself and receiving negative feedback). Even sharing this article today is scary.

But I do it because I think there are valuable lessons to learn.

Tackling the big stuff – limitations which are deeply rooted in our past experience = serious growth. (And it feels good!)

Focus on what you can control, then let go

Applying for a new job but you tanked that interview? I get it.

Pitched your business to potential clients who said no? It happens.

What’s within your control?

Maybe you need to improve your story so you can better connect with employers? Or, maybe you need to revamp your brand or your resume or brush up on your interview skills.

Get clear on the skill gaps you need to fill, then do everything in your power to reach your goal. But let go of the expectation that all of your work will lead to your ideal scenario.

There are so many variables outside of our control.

Maybe that employer you interviewed with didn’t fully grasp what you had to offer. Or maybe that client you really wanted to work with didn’t fully appreciate your brand. One of the variables we can’t control is how others perceive us. And although being misunderstood doesn’t feel great, it’s not necessarily about you.

Detach from That Label

You are not that marketing job you want so badly. Nor are you the business you want to launch. Which also means what others think of you does not equal you, and the rejections in your inbox don’t define you.

I can’t say exactly how I got here, but I realized, like so many others, I hold on to labels: entrepreneur, mother, likable friend.

What do these labels really mean? Whether they’re good or bad, the labels confine us and can force us to want to meet certain expectations.

I really don’t want to let my friend down or have her think I’m a weirdo.

What’s possible if we moved past these labels?

For me, realizing that I’m more than others’ opinions (good or bad) means taking more risks, and knowing that if people reject Work Bigger, they’re not rejecting me.

It’s taken me years to get to this place, but it’s all been worth it.

We’d love to hear from you! When does fear of how others perceive you show up? And what do you do to tackle it? Share with us in the comments below.  

Belma McCaffrey

Author Belma McCaffrey

More posts by Belma McCaffrey

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Leah says:

    First of all – everything here in this article is resonating with me right now <3
    I'm coming into a place where I'm starting to live by these rules, being able to move forward without hearing the nay-sayers, or listening to people who want me to conform to their idea of success. I am me, and my brand is an extension of me. It's definitely difficult to hear that you're not liked, or that your brand isn't resonating with someone – but not letting it define you or break you is everything. Love your tips on moving in that direction! Focusing on what I can control vs letting what I can't weigh me down is definitely where I still find myself struggling (in all aspects of my life) – but, progress, not perfection! Great thoughts Belma! Can't wait for the next one :]

    • Belma McCaffrey says:

      Thanks so much for your comment Leah! It’s so difficult to hear you’re not liked and that your work doesn’t resonate with everyone. I think it makes you more resilient in the end and also is a test of how much you want what you’re pursuing? Does the joy you get from pursuing your work outweigh the naysayers? I’d say yes. Keep doing what you’re doing! You got this!!

  • Janely says:

    Very true. I also came to this realization and need to remind myself often until i grasp it. It is very hard to stay balanced and it takes a lot of practice, awareness, and trust in the process by letting go of the attachment. Thank you for putting this message into words. Also, yes, not taking things personally. we feel that our work and passion are us because they are part of who we are but all of this could change as we evolve and develop. We are multifaceted and our work and project are just aspect of a bigger picture.

    • Belma McCaffrey says:

      Thank you so much for your comment Janely! I love what you said and this hits home. “We are multifaceted and our work and project are just aspect of a bigger picture.” Thank you for being a reader and for sharing your thoughts with us!

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