We all love approval and we all love connection but only one is a human need that’s been demonstrated over and over again from models that come from the likes of Abraham Maslow and Tony Robbins, and even show up in the failure to thrive syndrome of babies. So clearly we all need connection in our lives. We don’t all need approval.
In a commercial scenario what dictates whether someone will buy is whether they need something or want something. And when it comes to us and approval from others, then the same two words come into play. Do we want approval from others or do we need that approval. Big distinction!
It’s kind of healthy to want approval and enjoy it – when someone pats us on the back, cheers us on, supports us, congratulates us and acknowledges our thoughts, ideas or our presence because it connects us to people and makes us feel really good. We do that to others and we all enjoy it when others do it to us and in many cases it acts as a catalyst for us to move forward and create some momentum in our lives or our businesses. So that’s healthy, right? What’s not healthy, though, is when we decide we need approval from others.
That’s going to stunt our growth (and our ability to communicate) and can’t help but not allow us to tap into our potential. The irony though, is that these people we give ourselves over to, have no idea what we are thinking nor do they have any idea that we have become so wishy washy based on our perceptions of what they might just happen to think.
- They have no idea that we stay silent in a conversation for fear of sounding stupid to them
- When we retract our comments so that we align with theirs
- When we become yes people even though we mean no
- When we don’t ask the right questions or enough questions in a conversation
- When we don’t lead someone to the next step and ask for commitment of sorts
- When we become whatever we believe other people want us to become.
Do any of these and you lose your uniqueness, your power, your realness – you lose you! And people want the real you. That’s who they will trust. That’s who they will buy – imperfections, faults, flaws and all.
Because when those people whose approval you crave don’t answer your calls, don’t ‘like’ your posts, don’t accept your invitation, don’t choose you, what are you left with? A reliance on them for your personal and professional success.
If this sounds like you then it’s time to step up. You want to change your results? Then this is a key thought process that also must change.
- Stop apologising when you don’t need to. You don’t need forgiveness from anyone
- If you’re shy and feel like backing down in a conversation, try speaking up with one extra question, point of view or comment
- Girls, stop looking at yourself in shop windows (OK, so it’s guys too) you are enough the way you are
- Swap the odd question with a firm statement every once in a while to show certainty and conviction in your message
- Be the one who suggests the next step
The facts of life are not the birds and the bees. The facts of life are that half the people you meet and know will disapprove of something about you – how you open a conversation, the way you dress, where you live, the company you work for, the accent you speak with, the colour of your skin, the success you achieve….ad infinitum.
Give them back their disapproval in the most resourceful way for them to deal with. You have more important places to go. Places you approve of, on your terms with the remaining half of the population who accept you just the way you are.