“FOOPO, Fear Of Other People’s Opinions”
There are people in the world who care about everybody’s opinion of them, both personally and professionally. On the flip side, there are people who have a “I don’t give a shit attitude about what anyone thinks”.
In both cases, this is extreme thinking because on one hand, being overly consumed with what everyone thinks about us or our work crushes any hope we have of living authentically and truly being ourselves. When we do not live authentically, it’s impossible to produce our best work and to make the difference that we are meant to make in the world.
Not caring about what anyone thinks is the opposite and negates the fact that, neuro-biologically, we are indeed programmed to care about what people think. It's built deeply within us. So, having the attitude that “I don’t care about what anyone thinks”, removes any possibility of deep human connection with those that truly do matter to us.
We need others to make us better at what we do, there is no doubt about this, but finding that delicate balance between caring about what people think and not caring about what people think is an important strategy to be at our best, both personally and professionally.
I recently listened to a great Finding Mastery podcast where the host of the show, Dr. Michael Gervais interviews well-known author and speaker, Dr. Brene Brown. Brene’s work has been influential to me both personally and professionally. In this episode, Brene shares her one inch by one inch strategy which is meant to challenge people to genuinely think about people in their lives whose opinions truly matter to us. People who challenge us to be our best and whose opinions/feedback we need in order to continue to grow and learn.
Now, the hard part is to truly filter and distill your list down to a handful of people. Using a one inch by inch square shaped piece of paper, your job is to write down the names of those people within this square inch of space. As Brene says, you will not be able to fit too many people’s names on this card, so be specific.
It is a very interesting strategy that has me thinking about who I would write down on this list. I think that it is OK to have two cards, one for our personal lives and one for our professional lives. Perhaps, there will be some overlap, who knows.
When I think of my own personal and professional pursuits, there are people who I turn to for advice and to seek their opinions and feedback about my work and my life. It's these people who genuinely matter to me. However, it can be easy to be consumed, at times, with worry about what other people think of me or my work. I think that the act of trying to distill our lists down to a handful of people whose opinions and feedback truly matter is worthy of exploration. It's one thing to create this list, but an entirely different ball game trying to put it into action in our lives. This certainly has me reflecting and thinking about my list.
So………if you had a one-inch square piece of paper, whose names would you write down? It’s not as easy as it sounds!
Good luck to you if you are going to give this strategy a go!
KAUST Faculty, Pedagogical Coach. Presenter & Workshop Leader.IB Educator. #RunYourLife podcast host.