I spent 13 years as an actress and in that time I learned that it wasn’t my job to make sure the auditors or audience was loving my performance. My job was to live in the moment and focus on my craft.
What did that mean?
“Don’t worry if they're laughing or not.”
“Don’t worry about what they're writing on their papers.”
“And definitely don’t worry if they like your clothes.”
The lesson was “just focus on yourself and do the work.” But do you think I ever fully got the message?
Kind of, yet no matter where I’d go, the pesky need for approval continued to follow me. Even now as a coach and author, the question of whether people like me won’t go away.
Sure I’ve trained and studied to get where I am, but that doesn’t make it any easier when that voice in my head speaks up and whispers in my ear, “Are you sure you know what you’re doing? Why don’t you look at what so and so is up to?”
It’s very easy to compare yourself to others to see if your work is as good as someone else’s. And it’s even easier to look to others to give you the confidence you need when you’re not feeling it on your own.
But the truth is, it’s not your job to look at other people to know if you’re doing good work. The real truth is that you’re meant to look inside and pay attention to how you feel and decide for yourself who you are and why you’re valuable.
If you’re full of confidence, this is easy. But for most of us, myself included, it’s a natural behavior to seek approval from others. But if you don’t nip it in the bud it can destroy your path to success and keep you stuck in the dark.
Here are a few things you can do to help yourself develop your self confidence muscles and stop waiting for others to give you the “yes” you think you need to succeed.
1) Get off social media. When you’re feeling insecure you can get lost in “social media land” and start looking at Facebook,newsletters or blogs and begin telling yourself you’re not good enough based on what others are doing. Stop looking at others and start working on your own projects. And stop posting your own stuff hoping people will tell you how awesome you are. We’ve all been there and we all know how it ends.
2) Do things that make you happy. You can waste hours doing things for other people and every time you put off your own desires you fall further behind in your dreams and it gets easier and easier to lose your passion and drive to succeed.
3) Dont tell other people what you’re doing. The greatest creators know that when a dream burns bright inside, you don’t need to blab about it all over the world. Chances are if you’re doing that, you’re still seeking approval and don’t really believe in yourself after all. Dreams that are held close to the heart are more likely to blossom with focused energy and authentic trust.
4) Set your own goals and monitor them. As they say, run your own race and only be in competition with your self. And every time you make your goal, reward yourself. This way, you are keeping yourself accountable. No one can help you reach the finish line but you.
5) Remember the phrase, “Mind your own business” and do it. Don’t waste your time worrying about what someone else is doing. Literally mind your own business. Invest in yourself. Take care of yourself. And do what it takes to see yourself take action every day.