Well, hey there friend.
I have a new episode out this week ... and it's all about breaking a rule. We're going to be talking about how to break the rule "Don't worry what other people think."
Because here's the thing.
I sent an email last weekend, and I had a LOT of mind drama about what people might think about me and that email.
If I know one thing about highly sensitive professionals, we end up spending a LOT of mental energy worrying about what other people think. So we're usually given the advice (or we give ourselves the advice) "Just don't worry what other people think."
As if it was just that simple.
I mean, that would be nice, wouldn't it? If we had the magic wand or the snap of the fingers, and we could just not worry about what other people think.
But it's not that simple, and I thought this would be a great learning opportunity to share one way that I've found really helps me when I need to take action that scares me and makes me feel vulnerable.
I'm going to give you a different way of looking at it and a different suggestion on how to deal with it when we worry about what other people think.
So with that, let's get to the episode and break some rules
PS This week's podcast episode will be a good one for anyone who's about to head into a weekend of family drama.
Well, Hey there, friend. Welcome back to the show. Today, we're going to be talking about breaking a rule. This is something I haven't done for a little while, actually explicitly talking about unruley leadership. If you recall, we spell it with an E for the unrelieved. So we don't, we don't need to follow the rules all the time. Right.
So today we are going to be talking about how to break the rule. Don't worry. What other people think. Because here's the thing. I, if I, if I know one thing about myself, certainly, and about a lot of folks that I work with is that, that we end up worrying a lot about what other people think. And then we're given the advice or we give ourselves the advice will help. Just don't worry what other people think.
You know, as if it was just that simple. Like, I mean, that would be nice. Wouldn't it? If we had the magic wand or the snap of the fingers, And we could just not worry about what other people think. I mean, Hey, if you're listening and if you have that, that special magic wand, please let me know. That would be lovely because even after all these years of doing this work, I still worry about what other people think. And so that's why I wanted to make this episode.
I'm going to give you a different way of looking at it and a different suggestion on how to deal with it when we worry about what other people think. So with that let's get to it and break the rule about don't worry what other people think.
Well, Hey there, I'm Liz St. Jean, and this is the unruly leadership podcast where I help subject matter experts. Like you design a career on your terms. It's where strategy meets intuition to help you break the rules, ignore the rules and make your own damn rules. So let's break free from perfectionism, imposter thoughts, and that inner rule.
Keep that's keeping you in your career comfort zone. it's time to become unapologetically you and step into the life you were meant to live. We're going to talk presence, productivity career, and having it all. Or as my four year old would say, we're going to take over the world. So let's get to it.
All right. So like I mentioned today, we're going to be talking about why you can break that rule around don't worry what other people think. So first, let me give you a bit of a backdrop to this and why it's very fresh in my mind. And I'll share with you the tool that I've used in case it helps for you as well.
So at the time of recording, I just, uh, who two hours ago, I think it was. Around two hours ago, I sent out an email. So time of recording it's Saturday. It is November 19th. I sent out an email to my community talking about why I don't have black Friday deals. And. That email was, um, it was very hard for me to hit send for, for various reasons. And I'll use that as an example, I talk about, um,
Uh, what causes us to worry about other, what other people think. Um, but I was able to still hit send, and, and after sending it, I was thinking about it and I thought it might be helpful to hear for y'all to hear about how it, how I worked through that. Now I won't get into the email itself. Like all the specifics, if you, if you're not already on my email list, if you didn't get that email, just flip me a note. You can either DM me or find one of my emails. There's lots of different ways to, to reach out to me and I can forward it to you if you, if you want to read it. So that's the backdrop to this. And I mean, if you're listening, I don't even know. You could probably even hear it in my voice, even sort of thinking about it, talking about it still feels uncomfortable. It's funny. This is like Metta Metta Metta right here. Because acknowledging that, that, that I'm sure you could actually hear that I felt uncomfortable is uncomfortable. So like, this is all kinds of uncomfortable, right? So hopefully you are here with me and want to learn about, how do we navigate that discomfort?
How do we navigate when we are worried about what other people think? Because for this email I had. I had multiple conflicting feelings about it not. I have conflicting pressures on me about not sending it. Um, I had lots of different thoughts about what people would think about me, many, many different thoughts about it.
And. Here's the thing. So if you have a situation where you realize that you are having either many different thoughts, or even, even just like one thought, but a very strong thought, you have all these pressures, all these thoughts around what other people think about you and you're worrying about it.
And especially you're worrying about it to the point of feeling that fear, right? Like that, you know, almost like sick to the pit of your stomach fear about what other people might think about you. Essentially what's happening is it's our, our brain's way of keeping us safe. That's what's triggering all those thoughts. That's what triggering all those emotions around fear. So there's so much fascinating research if this interests you, I highly encourage you even just start Googling. Um, there's a lot of information. If you're really interested in learning some of the brain science on this.
Um, from an, from a lay person's perspective, I really recommend the book. Um, brain rules. It's about the 12 rules that we know about our brain by John Medina. I really enjoyed that book. If you're following this, you know, I have no background in neuroscience. I have no background in this at all, but I find it very fascinating , really thinking about how, how our brain keeps, it tries to keep us safe.
By sending us these fear messages. And, and it comes from a place of evolution adaptation. You know, we had to, as, as human beings evolved, we needed to keep ourselves safe. So our brains evolved to send us messages about don't put yourself in danger, do not put yourself in the path of something that might harm you stay with the group.
Don't do anything different. Don't do something that might threaten you that might, that people might, um, uh, make you an outcast. From the group, like that is how our brains, our emotions, or like how we're almost physically, mentally. Wired over the years. So that's how we've evolved. So when, when it comes to standing up for something. So that was my, my email was about standing up for some values when it comes to standing up for something that people might not agree with, where there might be repercussions. So for me, it could be people, um, responding and telling me exactly what they thought about me and not necessarily in a kind way.
It could be people leaving my community. It could be all sorts of things in my case, it'll be the same for, for you, right? If there's a situation and you find yourself worrying about what other people think it's probably because your brain is sending out alert signals. Saying alert, alert your group, your community, your social structure may not respond well. They may cast you out. They may turn their backs on you. Your survival is at risk. So. As essentially. Um, How it's always been referenced. Most things that I've read, reference it as the lizard part of the brain, we have this lizard part of our brain that is evolved to keep us safe. And it doesn't really know the difference between you know, sending out an email versus a bear coming out to attack me from the woods. Like the brain doesn't doesn't distinguish it doesn't care as a lizard brain. It does not, this is not our higher executive selves functioning. This is the lizard brain. It doesn't know the difference. And it's trying to keep us safe.
And that's where all of your impulses, like you were, were literally fighting biology here because all of our impulses are to stay safe. Keep yourself safe. Don't stick your neck out. Don't say something. Don't do something, et cetera, et cetera. Right.
I'm sure you've had a situation in the past where either you followed his impulses and you stayed safe or you've gone against them, and you felt all that fear, all the adrenaline, all the feelings and literally the hormones that are coursing through your body, right. You've probably had both of those. Most humans have both have experienced both. And so that's what happensis our brain is keeping us safe. Now. One of the things I always find so fascinating. So here's the rule that I'm, I'm I'm offering, giving you permission to ignore.
Is that it's also fascinating then that the advice out there, the tips, the recommendations, the, you know, the mantras and the, you know, the, the click-worthy, uh, Instagram posts usually say something along the lines of like, well, don't worry what other people think. Just, just do it right.
And that can be motivational and maybe it does work. Right. And it can work. I don't want to take away if that works for you or works for certain situation. We don't want to take away from that. But that said not worrying about what other people think you are literally trying to fight your own biology. You're fighting your own impulses, right? You're trying to ignore your own impulses.
And that's really hard. Because here's the other thing about the brain is that this is one of the other rules. I forget how he phrases it in the book, but essentially our brain is really lazy. Okay. Our brain is wired to conserve energy and that's again, a survival piece to keep us alive. Conserve energy.
So, what it does is it, it will try to get you to avoid things that exert energy. So not worrying about what other people think, especially, if you are truly a member of my community, there's a good chance you identify as a highly sensitive professional, either HSP, empathetic, high self-monitor, quiet, introverted. You likely resonate with one of those and folks in my community, because we are highly sensitive or highly attuned to others' emotions, it's even harder to stop worrying about what other people think.
So what I want to offer to you, here's a different option and I'm going to be borrowing from some of Brene Brown's most recent work. So if you, if I don't know if you would've followed this or not, but last year she put out a new book called Atlas of the heart. It got a lot of attention, especially in the coaching and leadership development space. But it was much more academic than any of her other books. So I, it, it may not have made it out into the rest of the, um, rest of the interwebs, so to speak because it was a heavier book in the sense of it was more academic, but it is, uh, it is a brilliant book for anyone who wants to work on their emotional intelligence, from the perspective of understanding, identifying and naming your emotions. Because what she did and I, sorry, I'm going on a little sidetrack here, but I think it's important to highlight here. What she did in the book is she worked with a project team and they went back again and combed over all of her research. And if you know anything about Brene brown is she has got a lot of anecdotal research and she's always come at it from the qualitative realm. Sorry, I'm getting really nerdy here.
So let's see, bear with me, but she looked at it from the qualitative realm for the most part. She's a grounded theory is what it's called to come up with her theories. What she did with this book or the, or at least the work that went into this book is they went back again and started kind of relooking at it, re categorizing. They went out and looked at the literature and what the research that has been done on emotion and shame and vulnerability and all these pieces.
And it's really interesting, even in the book, she, um, there's to meet some fundamental pieces of the book and what they did with it, that she re acknowledges we're not hurt. Like she wanted to go in a different direction. And her team, her project team, her researchers, or lead researchers had told her like, no, I know even talking about it this other way.
We need to shift though, like, this is what this is. This is the shift. And with the shift was, is that. They ended up organizing the different emotions and the different stories and kind of identifying all of the, the key emotions that we feel. And it's actually really fascinating. I went through and I counted, oh, I should have done that. I didn't do this off hats. I can't remember exactly off hand what it was. Um, kind of looking at the emotions from whether they're positive or negative, so like positive, you know, like maybe joy, negative being more on a shame.
Right. She has a lot of work around shame. And I expect it to be a little bit closer to 50, 50, really interesting. Most of what she brings up closer on the negative side, on the shame side. Which not totally surprising. She's a shame researcher. So it's actually not really surprising that you're going to see a lot kind of like a heavier bias towards that side.
But one of the key pieces she talks about and I think was so brilliant is what she calls adjacent emotions. And she talks about the difference between having emotions that are opposite. So like happy, sad. And then emotions, it can be adjacent. So happy. Joyful would be more adjacent. So here. Circling com.
I promise I'm coming all the way back. Uh, instead of not worrying about what other people think, which is an opposite, right? If you worry about what other people think the opposite to that is, well, don't worry about what other people think. We're going to go adjacent. Can because it's easier. And I think it's a really interesting way of looking at things.
So the adjacent to, uh, don't. I. Um, about worrying, what other people think. The adjacent is ask yourself. Well, who do I want to be proud of me?
The adjacent is caring. What other people think. But choosing who you want to care about, whose opinion matters to you? Right. And this might be a real person. It could also be a fictitious person because you're not actually going to go and message them or tell them what you're doing. Get their opinion. That is no overdoing here.
We're doing this as an internal reflection. To figure out what we want to do in this moment. As you can ask yourself, who do I want to feel proud of me in this moment? Right. And so for me and this case, sending out this email a couple of hours ago, I thought about my friend. So my friend, my friend's name is Fiona.
And she has been standing up for black indigenous people's rights and different social movements for as long as I've known her. And then, especially over the last few years. She has been really vocal on social media.
Within her circle, like she'd been standing up. So I've been seeing this and in this moment where I felt really uncomfortable sending this email, wasn't sure it was going to happen. Had all sorts of thoughts. That's who I thought of. I thought of her and I thought, well, in this moment, I would, I, I want her to be proud of me.
And in that moment, in my mind, the reflection was she's going to be proud of me for hitting send.
And I hit send. And the email definitely did not land well with everyone. Definitely got some immediate unsubscribes, but I also got responses back too. I also heard from people. And. You know, I think it, it speaks to a few different things. It speaks to in general, you know, standing up, um, you know, hitting sand, you know,
Uh, stepping through that discomfort, the fear. But it also speaks more generally about a boat standing up for our values. And kind of recognizing that, that, that can be really scary to stand up for something. Whether it's your values yourself, your team. The people in your community, people in other communities.
Standing up for integrity. If you see something in your workspace that you don't agree with, right. That can be a tricky one. Right because you've, you might have been taught, you know, growing up to, to, you know, don't, don't make waves, don't be a troublemaker. Right. So standing up for what you believe in.
And it's really hard to just not worry what other people think. And so that's why I offer it. If, if it works for you only if it works for you, but I offer that kind of reframe or asking yourself that question. Well who'd, I want to feel proud of me.
And essentially what you're doing. Is by asking the question, you're doing a couple of things. I'll do a little mini, a little mini training on this right now. You're doing a couple of things. One is that you're shifting, you're shifting some of the fear into curiosity, right. By being able to ask a question and.
If you can really get to that place of. Of feeling safe and feeling vulnerable with yourself to ask yourself that question you're shifting into curiosity, what's help, which helps get you away from that lizard brain. But piece number two is, and it's a sneaky way. I've talked about this in past episodes.
Piece number two is when you shift your focus to thinking about someone else. You're not actually getting their opinion. Right. We never asked them. I didn't, they didn't send my friend a message and asked, Hey, would you be proud of if I did that? No. What I'm doing is I'm tapping into my inner wisdom. You're tapping into your inner values. You're tapping into that inner part of yourself and you're practicing.
Trusting yourself to quote melody wilding for any other melody wilding. Uh, fans out there. Um, so those of you don't know her. She has a book called trust yourself. It's wonderful. Right. So you're trusting yourself. Hey, you're leaning into that inner mentor, the inner wisdom that is in there. Like I said, this is I didn't go and ask this person. You're not going to asking anyone, but you're tapping into that maybe a little bit.
It's not, I wouldn't even say it's totally subconscious, but maybe it's like the semi-conscious. It's like a semi-conscious wisdom that you have. And so that's, what's happening by asking yourself that kind of question.
Now, like I said, there could be other times where don't worry about what other people think like that kind of more fighter mantra is a bit of a, more of a warrior feeling to it. Don't I don't care what other people think. Right. Has a bit more warrior feel to it. That can totally work too and other times. Right. But it does take more energy.
Hey being a warrior takes more energy. This is a, this is a question. That's that to me at least. So I, I don't, um, well, I will offer because this is how it feels for me is that it feels more expensive. It feels more open. It feels like I'm opening myself up rather than trying, trying to fight. So.
With that. I want to leave you with that question. And so my call to action for you. I'm going to give you a call to action here. Is, you know, is taking action yourself, something either that scares you, even if it's just a little bit, even just a little bit, maybe it scares you a lot. You know, or stem, you know, standing up for your values, standing for integrity, saying something, doing something, something that could push you out of your comfort zone. Okay. If this question helps you do that, that is wonderful, but you don't have to. What I would love for you to do though, is take action. That, that scares you just a little bit.
Take action where, you know, the, the thought that's coming up is, is some of that worry about what other people think. Figure out what works for you, whether it's this question that I'm offering. Who do I want to feel proud of me? Is it the, is it the opposite? I'm not going to worry about what other people think. Or maybe it's even something else. So take that action and let me know. I would love to hear from you. I'd love to know what action you took and what helped you take that action. Getting out of the comfort zone, taking action on something that scares you. So please reach out and let me know. And with that have a wonderful week.
Thank you so much for listening to this episode. If this podcast helped you or inspired you in any way, I would love for you to leave me a review over on apple podcasts, it takes 20 seconds, if that, and it's, it's honestly the easiest way for you to thank me for this episode. Every time I see a review, it brings me so much joy and it just lights me up.
So if you could do that for me, I would be ever so grateful. Now, the other thing you can do is you can take a screenshot of this episode or even a screenshot of your review and send it to a friend or share it in a Facebook group or even post on your LinkedIn newsfeed to let other people know about this podcast and this episode.
Thanks again. And now get out there and start breaking some rules.