Balancing Act: The Newsletter (No. 154, June 2012 )
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Techniques for balance
I meet people on a regular basis who tell me why things won't work. When I was primarily engaged in corporate consulting, I met them a lot more often. But even in coaching and mentoring individuals, and in social interactions, I meet them a lot.
The human condition: Fear of rejectionPeople are such herd animals that rejection by others can seem fatal, as if left to fend for one's self without the protection of the group. My observation is that many people equate rejection with banishment, or shunning, or exile. It takes on a severity far worse than the single reaction involved.
Studies have shown that interviewers are as afraid of rejection as the interviewee, and therefore often don't make a job offer to someone they fear may reject it—and therefore reject them. I've seen people agonize over a single newsletter subscription cancellation—of thousands of subscribers—as if the inability to retain this one person's attention is a personal failure.
There are authors who collapse at the publishing of a single bad review. People in business often refrain from honest and objective disagreements for fear the other person may no longer like them (and woman are far more guilty of this than are men). Poor sales people are constantly caving to outrageous demands by buyers, or contenting themselves with pleading to non-buyers, since they'd rather obtain poor business than be rejected in the pursuit of proper business.
I've seen people sacrifice personal desires, needs, and objectives just to please someone else's mere whim. People allow themselves to be bullied by everyone from head waiters to fund raisers, just so they won't be thrown from the herd.
It is neither selfish nor rude to have personal opinions and needs, and to express the former and pursue the latter. Unlike a school of fish seeking mindless anonymity in protection from predators, we needn't twist and turn just because our colleagues do so. In Groucho Marx's immortal logic, do you really want to be a member of a club that would accept you as a member?
It's refreshing to go through life without seeking constant approval. I don't go to lengths to ensure people don't like me, but I don't especially care if they like me or not. I do my best, try to help others, and try to help myself. But I am not defined or validated by the immediate approval of others.
Not everyone will like what we say, write, or create. That is their right. Don't take it personally.
And this terrific session authorized by Alan:
Because of my wife's knee replacement, she was prohibited from traveling on planes for 90 days, and the train could sometimes throw you off your feet on curves, so we took a limo to New York and back. On the ride home, we stopped for gas and the restrooms in Connecticut.
Copyright 2011 Alan Weiss. All rights reserved.
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