Who is in the Executive Decision Board in your life?

Today I had a moving company come in and take our old couch. Before they were due to come, I was fiddling around trying to make the room look even tidier than before.

Then I instantly caught myself in the process of that and wondered WHAT ARE YOU DOING? I was trying to make a good impression on the people from the moving company. People I didn’t know and probably will never meet again. (Pause for scoffs and giggles)

It’s funny how much effort we pay to meet the expectations of people who aren’t really close to us. And it’s not even real, confirmed expectations — it’s what we imagine they would want.

How many times have you been there — caring for the opinion of those who are cold or even plain nasty to you? Trying to look in a certain way so that they think you’re smart, funny, cool, that you’ve got your shit together, etc.

Performing tricks to get approval, is what we do.

And where does that lead us? To a loss of personal power. To confusion with regards to our values and priorities. To confusion regarding who we are. To the loss of self-respect, and the respect of others, because we always smell the approval-seeking behavior in others and almost instinctively reject and distrust them.

So when we seek for approval, what we ultimately end up getting is… rejection. Not only from others, but from our own selves.

Have you ever stopped to ask whose opinion matters in your life and who doesn’t? Who gets a say and who doesn’t?

I invite you to do this simple exercise below. Just make two lists.

In the first, write down the people whose opinion matters to you. And be careful who you include in here. In this list, you should only have the kind of people who care for you. Those who would step up and help you if you needed it. Those who encourage you to be your true self. Those who empower you, and want you to claim your power and freedom. People who have succeeded in doing what you want to do, who are role models not only of success, but also of virtue. Those highly popular and gossiping aficionados coworkers — they don’t belong here. Those acquaintances you would really actually prefer not seeing again — don’t belong here. Random strangers on the street, in cafes, in the supermarket — again, NOPE.

And make sure to include specific names in the second list too, don’t keep it vague. You know exactly who should be here. You know exactly who you need to demote from Chief Approval-Giver and Criticizer in Your Life to Random Opinion-Giver.

Don’t worry if the first list is shorter than the second. It’s actually healthy and recommendable that way.

This is how you get into alignment.

This is how you end up being UNSHAKABLE.

Leadership Coach & HR Leader