Here’s a question: Whose opinion are you worried about when you overthink or avoid doing something? When you skip posting that video because of how you look? When you hold back from launching?
Who’s opinion or comments or judgment are you REALLY worried about?
What I’ve been hearing a lot lately is that you’re worrying about other people’s opinions, judgments, expectations…instead of your own.
Today on the podcast we’re talking about the 3 types of people we generally worry about getting negative or unwanted feedback from, and what you can do to stop worrying and start taking action on what YOU want.
Also – this episode has a lot of swearing in it. Like extra for me. So maybe grab some headphones if you don’t want me to accidentally teach your kids the F-word.
Links + resources
Today I want to talk through the three levels of people we worry about when showing up on the internet. First, it’s the internet trolls, total strangers that weirdly have strong and generally not well-formed opinions on literally anything. The content, your face, the lamp in the background, how many times you said LIKE….
The second type is acquaintances, people you might know in real life, but they don’t really know a lot about you besides what you share on Facebook. This could be people at your day job, parents at your kids’ school, that one person you met at that one event who you’re now friends with on Facebook.
Lastly, we’re going to talk about being slowed down by opinions from friends and family. People who know you and care about you and not caring what they think or say can be really tough.
One more thing to think about as we’re going through this – are you worried about things they’ve actually said or are you holding back because of the IDEA of what they might say or what they might think about what you’re doing.
Our lizard brain is always trying to keep us safe and so it continuously scans our world for potential threats. Now that society is advanced enough that you’re not going to get eaten by a bear, that threat might be your Aunt Deb who has a big mouth and doesn’t know how to keep her opinions to herself. Without bears, that now feels like a big threat. If you have anxiety like me, your brain is thinking about/making up scenarios often and enthusiastically. I don’t even think it would be possible to calculate the number of made-up scenarios that I got all worked up over that never came close to happening.
Let’s dive into the types of people and how to get over worrying about what they might think.
Random people on the internet
I hear this come up mostly related to social media – YouTube, Instagram, Tiktok. What will strangers on the internet think when I share this or show up looking this way or position myself as an authority? Will “the trolls” show up to tear me down?
I have to say this because it’s a little funny – that worry often comes from people who don’t have an audience yet. They’re really stuck at the starting line because of imagining what random people on the internet may or may not say. Generally, you need to grow an audience first before the trolls will even find you.
Here’s my reminder when I worry about what strangers on the internet might think about me or what I’m saying or sharing –
1. If someone doesn’t like me or what I’m doing then my stuff is not for them. If my stuff isn’t for them then I don’t need their opinion.
2. If they don’t like what I’m doing, it’s not my problem. There are a million people on the internet – they go find someone else to teach them about marketing.
When people respond to my emails saying I swear too much, and they have multiple times. I simply hit unsubscribe at the bottom of the email and remove them from my list. I don’t even respond. You’re welcome – no more swearing showing up in your inbox.
I had someone respond to an email saying the lime green on my website was too bright and they didn’t like it. That’s weird and rude to think someone will change what they’re doing just for you.
People still do it, so as I delete their snotty DM or unsubscribe them after a demanding email I just think – my stuff is not for you.
The people my stuff is for also drop an F-bomb on occasion and wear enough leopard print to be in a Lisa Frank commercial and those same people would probably be turned off if my branding was all navy blue and buttoned up and proper.
Not only would it be super uncomfortable and ill-fitting, but it would attract a totally different type of client or customer. I want customers who will start our coaching call by introducing their dog, or members who send me photos of their leopard leggings when they join Dare to Grow. Or (this has happened more than once) responding to our member onboarding survey saying part of the reason they joined was because I was wearing a Motorhead or Guns N Roses t-shirt. That’s when I know MY people have arrived and why my coaching calls are so fun and we have great discussions – because all the things that make me different from Amy Porterfield or BossBabe attract the best people FOR ME.
Those are the people I want to attract and I can only attract them if I’m showing up as myself. Swears and all.
The parents you talk to at your kid’s school, that person at your day job who always has to share their opinion, that Facebook friend that you met once at an event.
When I started to get serious about my blog I told NO ONE. I had no problem sharing my life or personal stuff with strangers on the internet, but I was so nervous about what all the people who knew me but didn’t KNOW me would think. Who am I to show up and be an authority on anything??
The number one way I give no fucks about acquaintances is the fact that most people are so wrapped up in their own life that the second you’re not in front of them, they forget about you. They forget about what you said or did or even their own opinion about you.
Here’s a test: think about the last acquaintance you interacted with – a neighbor, your kid’s teacher, the cashier at the grocery store – what were they wearing?? I bet you can’t remember. I can’t even tell you what I’m wearing without looking down at my shirt.
It’s been helpful to me to remember that even if I was personally impacted by an interaction (they said something that rubbed me the wrong way), there’s a good chance that person walked away and completely forgot about it. I might just think about it for the next week, while they’ve completely moved on.
I’ve done this with emails – someone said something that hit a nerve and I ruminated on it for waaaay longer than necessary when they likely closed their email and already moved on before I even opened my inbox.
Here’s another solution – shout out to the D2G member who shared this: We were on a coaching call a few weeks ago and one of the members said she had gone through her followers on Instagram and removed everyone who she felt might have an unwanted opinion on what she was about to launch. She was holding back because of what they might think about her product and her branding and that move – just removing them as followers – eliminated the issue.
You CAN remove people from your followers, email list, or Facebook group. If you are holding back then that is a roadblock that needs to be removed. There’s a good chance they won’t even notice. Especially if you weren’t really posting much to begin with.
Friends + family
This one is the toughest because those opinions are hard to shake off or ignore. Sometimes they go real deep, involve generational issues, and those are the people we’re seeking approval (aka LOVE) from, from day one.
Now I got kind of lucky on this one because I started listening to punk music in high school and that is all about rebelling, so when I cut off all my hair and dyed it blue my parents weren’t entirely shocked. When I quit my corporate job – not shocked. When I ran away with the circus…again…not even a little shocked.
If you grew up following, or expected to follow, society’s “rules” and not rocking the boat and now you want to do something totally different…yeah your family might have some opinions. Often those opinions are based on how they feel about their ability to do that thing and how scary or impossible it would be FOR THEM. They start asking all sorts of questions that you’ve already figured out because they’re trying to process how this crazy thing might work.
They might be worried about the internet trolls, which then makes you worry. Or they might base your abilities on that one fuckup from 20 years ago. You want to hike the PCH and they’re reminding you of the time when you went camping at 12 and cried and your parents had to pick you up early.
People who love and care about you want to protect you and also they know all the secrets. Or they grew up a different way and can’t imagine doing something else. You go to college, get a job, get married, start a family, and then you just live until it’s time to retire. For a long time, that was IT. Other options or lifestyles or choices were weird and crazy and sadly, had consequences.
With friends and family, there’s a level of understanding on our end to see where those opinions, judgments, and fears come from and then deciding whether you need to apply that lesson to your current situation or not.
Maybe it isn’t that complicated and you can simply ask yourself – is this person qualified to give me their opinion on this topic? Or rather for me to take their opinion? They can give it all they want, I can totally nod and smile and ignore it. If it’s business strategy then you need to own or manage a business or teach business, for me to want your opinion.
As Brene Brown said – they need to be “in the arena.” If they aren’t doing the thing and doing it as well or better than me, then I don’t need their advice. Period. Don’t give me advice on something you haven’t already done.
So whose opinions DO matter…YOURS. And the people who are paying you, to an extent.
In the end, YOU have to live with your decisions. You might also add your spouse, partner, or kids into that as well. Or, maybe not – I don’t have kids so you don’t need my opinion on that.
If we’re talking about business stuff – your day-to-day life and work – your opinion and the opinions of people who ARE paying you are what matter. Not people who might pay you, you want to listen to the people who have already given you their money, hired you, or enrolled in your program. Listen to what they have to say because you probably want to attract more people just like them.
I have 5-10 people who have been or are in my membership, group coaching, or courses and I want to attract more like them. Anytime I’m going to create or post something, those are the opinions I fantasize about. What would they say? How would they feel? Before I launch the new website I’m going to send it to a few of those people, because their feedback will tell me if I’ve gotten it right.
Culturally Women have been essentially groomed by society, capitalism, racism, and patriarchy to second guess ourselves, not trust our gut, look to others for permission, to worry about everything lest we inconvenience or offend someone. We are being told there is something to fix or work on inside and out every single day in a million different ways. And that is fucking bullshit.
What can you do today to start working on those worries?
- Follow and connect with people who do not let what others think of them hold them back. People like Jamie Varon, Gala Darling, Jam Gamble, Glennon Doyle, Vivian Kaye, Tori Dunlap, Lizzo, Jonathan Van Ness. Now, let me be clear – they all give a lot of fucks about the stuff that’s important to them, but no fucks about random bullshit opinions.
- Unfollow people that make you feel not good. About anything. You don’t need a fully formed thesis on why you’re unfollowing. If you feel something negative – unfollow. If it’s someone you know, who will notice, then mute them.
- When you do have an experience of judgment, stop and ask yourself how valid is this person’s opinion related to what you’re trying to do? Or, if you are imagining the judgment that might come – how realistic is this? And, does it matter?
I want to end with two quotes because these always pop into my head when I’m coming up against someone’s judgment or imagined opinion: One I heard from Gala Darling from Diana Vreeland who was the editor in chief at Vogue for many years. “People will stare, make it worth their while”
The other is “other people’s opinions of you are none of your business.” The internet says it’s a quote from Robin Sharma. People can think whatever they want about what I’m doing and I don’t really give a fuck because I’m happy.
If this episode feels like something you needed to hear, definitely pick up Jamie’s book, Radically Content – I’ll drop the link in the show notes. I’m only halfway through but it’s been a really validating and relieving read.
I’d love to hear how you deal with judgment and worry about potential judgment around what you’re doing online and with your business. Find me on Instagram @xosarahmorgan and let’s chat!