Are Other People’s Opinions Shaping Your Life?


I have this client who is taking no action on her big dreams and goals, let’s call her Tina. She gave me permission to talk about her in this article…

Tina is a corporate VP of a major company, you would know it. She makes about $250,000 a year, has great benefits and vacation time, company perks, and other things that some people only dream about.

Unfortunately, she hates her job. She hates waking up every day and sending her kids to daycare so she can get to the office early and work long, grueling hours, helping someone else achieve their goals. She feels no connection to the work that her company does and she wants to quit.

The problem is, she’s a single mom, recently divorced. She got the big house in the settlement and along with it, the big bills. She feels so much pressure to provide for her family and keep up the same lifestyle her kids are accustomed to. It’s understandable.

Tina hired me to help her craft a side business that she can eventually build into a full time business and one day leave her miserable job.

She wants to do something that matters to her. She wants to be a public speaker and educator and she wants to work with recently divorced women. Tina wants to be a woman that helps other woman find God after divorce and use religion as a tool to help them through the challenges they are facing.

Well, I’m not a religious person myself, so when I heard this as Tina’s coach, I had to reset my own thoughts on the topic. It did seem odd to me, that anyone would be looking for this specific type of service and here this woman wanted to build an entire business on the subject. A business that could become successful enough to replace her quarter of a million dollar income!

I, as any good career or business coach would do, got on board with it right away! Why not? If this was her big goal, there was no other option but to believe wholeheartedly that it was possible. And I do.

The problem that Tina is having, despite being miserable in her career, is that she’s paralyzed with fear and not taking any action toward this dream of hers.

A couple weeks back I asked her why she wasn’t doing any of the work, why she keeps talking about it, but not taking action, and what she told me nearly knocked me off my feet. She said deep down, she was worried about what her ex-husband would think. What?!?!

This guy was the main reason why she found a renewal of her own faith, a faith which gave her the strength to move past him and become healed after a terrible marriage. And she cared about his opinion! My mind was blown.

As Tina and I continued a discussion about what he and others would think of her going after her dreams, I couldn’t help but think about myself and the times that I’ve felt ashamed, embarrassed or hesitant to do things I wanted to do, all because of what someone else might think. Then I started to think about you. I bet you’ve held back a piece of your true self because the fear of someone else's opinion was too great.

We’ve all been there. We’ve all, at one time or another, stopped ourselves from doing what we wanted to do, saying what we wanted to say, being who we wanted to be, or going after what we wanted to go after, all because we cared too much about what someone else may or may not think of us.

Here are some reasons why you should stop that crap right now…

10 reasons why you should stop caring what other people think of you:

1. People don’t care as much as you think they do.

Seriously Tina, if your ex-husband cared that much about you, he wouldn’t have left you in the first place. Harsh but true. The reality is most people don’t care what you’re doing. Sure they may share opinions, but people share opinions about everything these days don’t they, it’s all just noise. As quickly as they think it, they likely forget it.

2. You can’t please everyone.

You can’t be an important life changing person to some people, without being a joke to others. Bold actions are always polarizing, there will always be some people that aren’t interested in what you’re doing, or even think it’s dumb. You can’t be liked by everyone and it’s a waste of time to try.

3. No one else has walked in your shoes.

Tina’s life changed when she connected with her faith after her divorce. It literally changed her life and she wants to share that with other women who may benefit from her message, other women who are looking for that kind of support. Only a woman who has recently been divorced and feels called to use faith as her guide to carry on can understand her business idea. Everyone else won’t get it, and that’s ok.

4. It kills your energy.

Concern about other people’s opinions or the desire to seek approval from anyone but yourself is not only sapping you of your creativity, freedom and energy, but can have serious lasting negative impacts on your mental and physical health.

5. You’re the one stuck with your choices.

So many of us are going through life piecing our decisions together based on what other people want for us, or think is best for us. Have you ever found yourself ready to make a decision and looking to someone else, or perhaps many people to “run it by” first before you decide? Other people will never be as invested in you as you are in yourself. Only you are the one that will have to live with your choices. Of course there are times when we seek guidance from professionals to help us make decisions, and there are benefits to chatting with close confidants about what’s on our minds. But can we all agree to stop asking our Facebook friends which color sweater looks best on us or what we should eat for dinner, you’re the one that has to live with the clams casino tomorrow, not the people on FB!

6. You reap what you sow.

Worrying too much about what other people think of you can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.  People can get so overly concerned with their need to be liked that it dictates the way they behave and ultimately changes the actions they take or (as in the case of Tina) don’t take.

7. Life’s too short.

Come on, how many more years do you have on this earth in this physical body of yours. Do you really want to spend it in fear of what others may think or say about you? Screw that! Do whatever you want, be whoever you want, go after anything that lights you up. Trust me; you won’t be concerned with any of these people’s opinions when you are dead.

8. People change their minds.

What someone thinks today will surely be different tomorrow. That’s ok! In fact, I think that’s one our greatest rights as human beings. It’s always ok to change your mind. Remember that next time you think someone else’s opinion matters. They may change their mind! Whether they do or not really doesn’t matter, just remember, they might. What a shame it would be to make a decision based on someone else’s opinion when that opinion may change.

9. It’s none of their business…or yours.

Have you heard this Mark Twain quote? “What other people think of me is none of my business.” So simple and so true.

10. It will keep you from your dreams.

Well this is the most important of all, isn’t it? If you stop to worry about what other people think, you will never have the momentum you need to reach your dreams.

I hope my client Tina will overcome the fears she has of her ex-husband’s judgmental opinions, I think she will. I hope at least one or two of these 10 reasons to stop caring what other people think will ring loudly in my own mind the next time I feel timid about going forward boldly with one of my own dreams or goals and I hope that same for you!

Thanks for reading!