Are you wrestling with the need for approval? I speak to many budding entrepreneurs and it seems that their desire for approval often stops them from truly following their heart.
If you are looking for validation, hiding your true self and trying to prove yourself to others, then please stop it.
I am saying this from a loving space because I spent most of my early years doing exactly this. You see, I was a daddy’s girl and a real people-pleaser. I was raised in a traditional culture and toed the line until he passed away when I was in my teens.
Although I didn’t realize it then, my dad’s death was the trigger for me to stop trying to get people to like and accept me. I started thinking about living the kind of life I’d always wanted.
This led to me leaving home at 18, unheard of for a girl of my background in those days and living abroad for several years. I pursued unconventional careers and eventually set up my own business so I could live the lifestyle that I had dreamed of.
These days, I am much more self-confident and self aware. I have learned that I don’t need the approval of others in order to succeed.
I also don’t waste my time and energy worrying whether others disapprove of my choices.
You Don’t Need Approval
But I see many people, especially female entrepreneurs caring too much about what others think of them or feeling they have to change who they are in order to fit in or be accepted.
The trouble is you can’t please everyone all of the time and nor should you try.
Our true beauty lies in the complexity of our emotions, our vulnerabilities and our imperfections. When you decide to embrace the authentic you, instead of who you think others want you to be, you give yourself the opportunity to experience real success and real happiness in your life.
Let’s look at why you don’t need the approval of others to validate yourself or to succeed in life.
Let Go Of The Need For Approval
#1. People Want To See The Real You
Consider this – it’s better to be hated for who you are than be loved for who you aren’t.
Maintaining a façade is hard work. You are not relaxed and give off a nervous vibe that people pick up. I see this a LOT in the online space. For instance, you may know of the successful business coach Marie Forleo.
Marie has built a great personal brand and does amazing work inspiring female entrepreneurs to be successful.
The problem is that many women think that to be successful they have to be just like Marie. They design their websites like Marie’s, they churn out the same content, heck they even speak and dress like Marie.
In case you don’t know, Marie has a very distinct personality.
She grew up in New Jersey in the USA, is of Italian parentage and did dozens of different jobs that shaped the beautiful, successful, hip and unique person she is today.
But Marie’s personality doesn’t translate well if you grew up on a council estate in Liverpool, England!
My advice to you is to drop the pretense and let the real you shine brightly. You already have a unique personality that can be the very DNA of your brand if you let it.
Stop comparing yourself to others and trying to be someone you‘re not just because you think that is what you must be to succeed.
When you can be yourself around others, you become magnetic. You build trust and attract people to you. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about followers to your fan page, subscribers to your blog or friendships in real life.
The bottom line is that people are drawn to authenticity so quit seeking approval or “borrowing” from others. Be you.
#2. Only You Know What’s Right For You
It’s very easy to constantly ask for opinions and approval from all of those around you but one of the most important traits of a successful entrepreneur is intuition.
Yes, entrepreneurship can be a lonely path. At times you may well find yourself in a difficult situation and need help or a second opinion.
But do you do this all the time?
The trouble is that most of us just aren’t in touch with our innermost feelings. It’s easier to look for outside approval than do the internal work of getting to know ourselves better.
By developing your intuition, you will always make the right decisions. Learn to trust your inner voice because only you know what’s really right for you.
Start by checking in with yourself and listening quietly as a first step. Don’t put any pressure on yourself to “get it right.”
Remember, there are no mistakes. You can only do your best in that moment with the choices before you. If it later turns out to be the wrong step, you can always try something different.
#3. Take Full Responsibility For Your Life
When you talk to some people, you get the feeling that they are waiting to be rescued or to have their problems magically vanish.
“Oh if only this would happen…” they say or “If I made X amount of money, then I could do this or be this.”
The big point that they are missing is that life is happening right now, while they are waiting for the big breakthrough.
The only way to change things in your life is by taking total responsibility for everything.
You are the only person who can make change happen in your life. You are the person who decides whether to respond positively or negatively to a situation. And you are the person who decides whether to take action or to carry on waiting.
This kind of self-awareness is essential if you want to take charge of your life and by doing so change the course of your future.
#4. Do What Makes You Feel Alive
We live in a materialistic society that would have you believe that if you don’t have a great job, a big house, a nice car or eat out in fancy restaurants, you’ll never be happy.
But don’t let yourself fall into this trap.
Of course you need money to live well and provide for yourself and your family. But beyond a certain point, material things can’t make you happy.
Doing what makes you feel alive is the real key to happiness. So do yourself a favor and stop chasing the money.
Go for the kind of things that money can’t buy – like being a person of integrity, having an honest and open heart, living with passion and helping others.
Focus on what you love to do and build a lifestyle business around that. That’s where the real value is.
The need for approval affects all of us at one time or another but it can paralyze you from pursuing the very things that make you happy and feel alive inside.
Remind yourself that you don’t need to prove yourself or get the approval of other people. You are your own person and you must live your own life.
It’s important to be true to yourself and live in alignment.
Speak your truth, even when it’s hard. Walk your path with confidence and don’t expect everyone to “get you” along your journey. Listen to your inner voice and follow that, regardless what other people may think or say.
We only get limited time on this beautiful planet and at the end, we will all die. All your material things will count for nothing, so make the most of your life in ways that count.
How has the need for approval affected your life? What strategies have helped you overcome this tendency? Please share your experiences below.