Pushing Past the Fear of Being Judged
This topic certainly cut close for me because it is the number one reason I have not gone after some of my goals in the past. It is the number one reason I have played down my own ambitions and desires. It is the number one reason I have stayed quiet and let others take the spotlight when I know I could do a better job.
I have literally said out loud that I didn’t want things that I actually really did want. The sole reason I did it was to avoid judgement.
Some of the thoughts I have experienced include:
What If I put myself out there and others look down their nose at me and ask who the hell I think I am?
What if they look at my work and laugh at me?
What if they pick me apart and find something they can use against me?
It would be great to say that none of those things ever happened. But the truth is that when you start putting yourself out there, people will notice and some of them will look for reasons to shoot you down. All of the above are actually not ‘what ifs’, they are all things that I’ve experienced and are all things that I’ve allowed to affect me more than I should have.
Yet here I am still plugging away and most importantly, learning how to deal with it to the point where I now feel that I can grow my business without fearing other people’s judgement.
Here’s a few things I have learned:
Make an effort to be less judgemental yourself
I am not preaching from the high ground here. I am human like everyone else and find myself daily having to consciously override a natural tendency to make judgements about others without knowing all the facts or really, anything about their story.
However, the good thing is that once you start making this conscious effort, and being fairer to others, the things that you are most self-conscious about start seeming less daunting.
Don’t buy in to people’s BS
In business, when you see or hear people using complicated language and buzzwords to describe what they do and you find yourself thinking things like “They must be smarter than me”, remember, that’s the idea. The intent is to protect their piece of turf by making what they do sound more complicated than it actually is.
The irony is that themost successful people get that way by discussing what they do in a way that i seasily understood and resonates with people. So rather than fear the judgement of people whose existence relies on smoke and mirrors, make what you do accessible by simplifying it for others.
Find your unique value
Our own fear of being judged largely comes from comparing ourselves to others in our field. So, wanna know one way to not compare yourself to others and feel less judged? Make yourself incomparable.
We have a habit of noticing other people’s strengths and comparing ourselves on those items. Instead, identify YOUR strengths and put them out in to the world.
Be okay with others’ opinions
This is similar but slightly different to popular mantras such as “I don’t care what others think of me’ or “What other people think of you is none of your business”.
When I hear people say things like that, it suggests to me recklessness and a lack of consideration. I prefer to say “I’m okay with others think of me whether it be good, bad, or indifferent.”
Saying the same thing but from a different perspective. The difference is that framing it this way empowers you to focus your energy on the ‘good’ and let the bad and indifferent go.
Learn to distinguish constructive criticism from criticism
When you start putting your voice out into the world, there’s going to be some push back. There’s nothing you can do to stop it so you need to learn how to know what is worth paying attention to and what you should just let pass right on by.
If somebody has constructive criticism to offer, firstly they will be qualified to offer it because they have been on the same journey. Secondly they will generally approach you in an amicable way and engage you in a conversation.
If somebody just wants to criticise it is rarely ever about you. It’s usually about making themselves feel better about their own shortcomings by putting someone else down. Research shows that if you pose a threat to someone else’s ego, they are more likely to judge you negatively regardless of your actual ability.
Learn to sort the gold from the garbage – and don’t go playing in the dumpster.