Mindset and self-doubt impact our success in business and in life. We know this and yet, we allow self-doubt and other barriers to find their way into our thinking.

Do you ever get caught up with being overly concerned of what others think?

Do you alter who you are, what you’re doing, or even perhaps your goals because of what you think others will think of you?

I know I have and my clients have, too. A topic that consistently pops up in our conversations is their fear of what other people think of them.

Most of the fear we as women have about putting ourselves out there—about pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone and Playing Big in life and in business—is around what others think of us:

  • “People will be upset about what I have to say.”
  • “I’ll lose credibility with my colleagues.”
  • “My family or friends will disapprove.”
  • “I’ll embarrass myself.”

Suddenly, what we only believe to be their thinking becomes our thinking. It’s as if we’ve handed over the reins of the stagecoach of our minds. We give over our power and stop investing our time and energy in what lights us up—all because of our fear of not being good enough … because of our own fabricated “story” of what someone may possibly be thinking. The thinking is imaginary but the fear is real.

This fear has the ability to stop us on our path to success … quickly and thoroughly.

If we truly want to create the life we dream of, we can no longer depend on positive feedback, someone’s approval, OR fear someone’s disapproval. We must create our own thoughts—our own mindset—and from that, our own reality.

We become so attached to praise, needing—almost craving—it, that when we don’t get it, we feel deflated. It’s like we’ve done something wrong because we didn’t receive recognition for our hard work.

When we get used to doing something with the payoff of praise, and that praise doesn’t come, we can feel like a failure, even if our work was Kickass!

And when we receive criticism, it can really trip us up. It can make us feel vulnerable or misunderstood. It can even make us feel like a fraud … as if our lack of knowledge or ability has been exposed.


It can distract us and make us question if we’re actually good at what we do or maybe whether we’ve chosen the wrong path or the wrong passion for our abilities.

This fear can create an amazing amount of stress for us as we build our business, our careers … making it difficult to do our work and put ourselves out there.

Over time, the fear of not being good enough and fearing criticism can grow so intense, we stop putting ourselves out there all together.

If we want to play big, if we want to build a business and create the lifestyle we want … if we want to push our boundaries and step out of our comfort zone, we’ve got to let go of what other people think … we’ve got to let go of the “high” praise gives us.

And, we’ve got to realize that when we’re exposing our work to a larger audience, it’s likely we’re going to receive criticism. It’s that simple … simple, yet not easy, to let go of. (Read more about simple vs easy here)

Take a moment to check out your favorite author or artist on Amazon.com (or any other books sellers) and look at the list of wonderful positive reviews people have written about their books … AND notice there are a few negative reviews in there as well.

Does this mean the book is no good or not worth reading? No! Not at all! It often means the person reading the book isn’t the author’s target market. The review doesn’t always tell us about the book, it tells us about the person giving the feedback.

Can you imagine your favorite author not writing because of receiving criticism about their work? And, just as you do, they, too, received a negative review or two along their way to success, right?

The same goes for praise. Receiving praise doesn’t always tell us about ourselves or our work, it tells about the person giving the feedback and what they like.

Now, I’m not suggesting we have to stop caring what other people think all together…we don’t need to stop wanting praise, lots of clients, plenty of likes on your Facebook posts … or having a positive, receptive audience … we all enjoy praise to some extent and turning our back to it entirely won’t be effective either.

And we don’t need to stop caring about negative feedback either.

We simply need to start looking inward for answers instead of outward for validation.

Instead, let’s look at whether we want to make choices in our life, business, or career through the lens of someone else’s ideals, values, desires, and perspectives or through our own.

When we make choices in our life according to what others think, we give away our power and, with it, our authenticity.

There are many reasons why we’re so concerned about what others think, positive or negative … especially as women.

We’ve been taught to be the good girl (Read more about the Good Girl here); to be sensitive; be aware of others feelings; to notice when someone is upset, bored, distracted, or angry.  We readily take in the emotions of others, and this alone will impact the way we put ourselves out there.

Criticism can stop us in our tracks, especially if it’s a belief we have about our Self …it’s like we’ve been exposed, even if that belief is not true.

The next time you feel like you’re getting hooked by fear of what others think, get curious.

Ask yourself:

Is there a negative belief about myself that’s being triggered?

Where do I trip up the most in regard to criticism?  To praise?  Label and notice so you can be ready for it before getting hooked again.

What’s more important to you than receiving praise?  Avoiding criticism? Get, and stay, in touch with your work and life goals and let them guide you fueled only by your own feedback and internal praise for success.

I’d love to hear what helps and hinders you as you strive toward goals. What’s been your experience with the role of mindset? Drop me a note here or set up a free complimentary Clarity Call if you’d like to explore this further. Let’s take back the reins and charge your goals together.