(2 minute read)
Let’s start with this question.
‘On a scale of 1-10, how weird are you?’
It’s likely that a) you were able to give a response to this question without too much consideration, and b) that you’d be more reluctant to ask another person to give you their assessment of you using the same scale (if there really is a scale for ‘weirdness’).
Why? Because many of us experience an undercurrent of uncertainty about what people may think about us. Or, conversely, we believe we know what others think of us and are afraid it may be expressed openly.
This apparent Fear of Other People’s Opinions (FOPO) is prevalent in all walks of life and permeates both our personal and professional lives. (Marketers and advertisers are known to leverage this fear by encouraging us to stay on-trend – or ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ as some call it).
The second question then, is ‘How often does the fear of what other people think prevent you from doing something?’
Is the fear of others’ opinions preventing us from attempting or saying something? If so, we have a case of FOPO that needs some TLC.
Without diminishing each person’s experience, we need to avoid getting caught in the trap of our own ruminations (thoughts that can feed on their own exaggeration).
Those people over there? The ones you think are talking about you. Judging you. They’re not. Really! They don’t have time. They’re too busy worrying about what people are thinking about them.
Too often we suffer our fears in silence. We believe ourselves to be the only one. Everywhere we look we seem to be surrounded by competent & confident people.
The reality is that everyone has their own struggles. We are not alone!
When you care less about what others think, and set out to achieve your goals and dreams, you give others the power to do the same.
Someone is always watching and wishing they had your courage. By stepping up to your own fears, you really do help others face theirs.
Approach this challenge with vulnerability and honesty, while confronting any fears head-on.