Overcoming the Fear of Others’ Opinions: A Roadmap for Creative Professionals and Business Leaders

How often do friends, family, and the countless barely known social media contacts bound up to you like an excitable puppy, wag their tails and shout, “Hey it’s you, fantastic, I love you, you’re doing good, in fact – great. You’re going the right way, this is exactly how I always saw you, doing great! Hold still while I lick your face!”

Perhaps draw the line at letting them lick your face, that’s just awkward; but, generally you’re not going to need to worry. No one is going to be that supportive of you. They might be in their hearts, but they’re not going to tell you you’re going the right way. Sometimes the only way you’re on the right path is the guilt trips are further apart. And so we end up feeling anxious when we have to do something different – outside of our comfort zone.

As creative professionals and business leaders, the fear of what other people will think can often loom like a shadow, hindering our creativity and stifling innovation. However, mastering this fear can be a transformative journey that unleashes the full potential of our creative minds.

Here’s how busy professionals can navigate this common fear and thrive in their pursuits.

  • Redefine Success on Your Terms: In a world where external validation is often glorified, redefine success based on your vision and values. Embrace the notion that your journey is unique, and the opinions of others do not dictate your worth or achievements. Craft a personal definition of success that aligns with your creative aspirations and business goals.
  • Welcome Constructive Criticism: Rather than fearing criticism, see it as an opportunity for growth. Constructive feedback can offer valuable insights that help refine your ideas and projects. Cultivate a mindset that welcomes feedback and uses it as a stepping stone to better outcomes.
  • Trust in Your Expertise: As busy professionals, you have acquired a wealth of knowledge and experience in your field. Trust in your expertise and the value you bring to your work. Confidence in your abilities will fortify your resilience against external judgment.
  • Be brave: There’s no need to be completely reckless, but be courageous. Step up and show up for yourself. Push out the space that is your comfort zone. Is it really all that comfortable in your comfort zone? It’s not always easy but have a fragment of faith and have a go. If it doesn’t kill you outright (unlikely) you’ll get another chance. Who actually cares about the opinions of your friends and family – they’re so self-centred they aren’t thinking about you at all. But more than that – you need to cut a clearing in jungle so others in your family have got some light so they can grow too. Nothing grows in the shade of the family tree.
  • Focus on Impact, Not Approval: Shift your focus from seeking approval to creating impactful work. When your mission is driven by purpose and a desire to make a difference, the fear of others’ opinions becomes less relevant. Pour your energy into work that aligns with your creative vision and makes a positive impact.
  • Surround Yourself with Supportive Networks: Build a community of like-minded individuals who support your creative journey and understand the challenges you face. A network of peers, mentors, and fellow entrepreneurs can provide valuable encouragement and insights, easing the fear of judgment. Rehearse sales pitches or presentations or portfolio curations or anything you need input on. Listen to their advice. Feel the love.
  • Accept Imperfection: Perfectionism can be paralysing. Instead, discover and enjoy the beauty of imperfection and the learning journey it brings. Be willing to take risks and learn from failures as you push the boundaries of your creativity. Push hard. If you fall, you’ll bounce. Mostly.

For creative professionals and business leaders, the fear of others’ opinions can be a powerful deterrent to innovation. However, by adopting a mindset that values personal growth and authenticity, and by fostering a supportive network, busy professionals can transcend this fear and unlock their true creative potential.

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

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