Can you imagine driving a car without mirrors? No rear-view mirror. No side mirrors, too.
You speed like lightning on the highway. Without a knowledge of what’s behind you, you switch lanes at will. You branch into detours without checking the pedestrian lanes.
You are closer to the grave than a corpse. That’s for sure.
You say words like:
“No one can tell me to do anything”
“It’s my life. I can do whatever I want with it.”
“I am an individual. I make my own rules.”
“Oh! Is that what you think about me? Well, I don’t care.”
This is the leader of Team “I don’t care what anybody thinks about me.”
And then you have those who define themselves by what everyone thinks. You care about everyone’s opinion of you. You can’t move a needle an extra inch without everyone’s approval.
It’s like driving a car with 10 mirrors. Before you make a turn, you peek into those ten views. Before changing lanes, you consult these ten views. That’s not only hectic but driving you into the ground.
It’s just a matter of time, an accident is looming.
In short, those ten views strip you of your confidence and authenticity.
You are a slow and indecisive driver behind the wheels. And that sucks.
You are as good as every other driver on the road but your speed and decisiveness are hampered.
Welcome to Team “I care about everyone’s opinion of me.”
These two sides paint extremes we must avoid if we must get ahead in life.
Feedback is essential to living but you need to find a sweet spot. You have to be clear on whose opinions of you matter.
Creating the Winning Squad
Get a small paper — preferably the size of a Post-it note. Write the names of people whose opinions of you matter. It has to be a small group of people, three to five people is enough.
In choosing these people, use the following guide. Instead of telling you what they must have, I will share traits that are red flags. Meaning if they have these traits, you will be endangering yourself by allowing them to be your mirrors:
No 360 Degree Understanding of You:
There are some people that do not have knowledge of who you are beyond your online personality. These people have never seen you on your worst days. They don’t have a full grasp of your weaknesses and imperfections. In short, they don’t know your story. You need people that have seen you get angry, they have seen you fall short of your standards before, and yet still love you.
Every time you beckon on them for feedback, they are always patting you on the back. If they are not hailing you today, they will be heaping praises on you tomorrow. They are scared to have tough conversations with you. They lack the courage to tell you the truth. Because of fear of losing you, they can’t tell you when you are wrong.
That’s a red flag. You need people that can offer you feedback including growth points. Some leaders especially dictators surround themselves with “Yes” people and it’s the fastest route to extinction and destruction. It’s like driving in a fog with dirty mirrors. You know you are seeing something but not the real picture. You need people that can say it to your face:
“Sam, that presentation was a disaster but these are things you can do to make it better.”
“What you said to that young lady was out of place, you need to apologize and make sure such outburst does not repeat itself.”
Once you have created your list, send a message to these people letting them know that you trust their opinions of you.
I want you to know that your opinion matters to me. You are one of those people that is willing to tell me the truth even when I can’t stand hearing it. Thank you for always being so honest and real with me. In the coming days, I will be coming for more feedback.
Thanks for the support.”
What other red flags will you watch out for when choosing your support squad?