A few weeks ago, I was in a meeting where someone said something I didn’t agree with. In fact, I felt quite strongly about my opinion, but I was new to this group and I did not know these people. At the time, I thought if I speak up and disagree they will think I am negative and disagreeable, and so lacking the courage to do otherwise, I kept my opinion to myself.  But, I left that meeting uncomfortable that I had stayed silent.

Almost immediately after the meeting, I thought of a favorite saying, one I’ve been trying to live by – it was advice a mentor gave me years ago, “what others think of you is none of your business.” I will never forget the first time I heard it. Hearing those words stopped me in my tracks.

“What others think of me is none of my business.”
 
Why didn’t I remember that while sitting in that meeting? I want to be supportive, honest and respectful of others, but most important – I want my choices and actions to reflect my authenticity and honor my integrity. Staying quiet because of my fear in that meeting did neither of those.
 
What others think of me? It’s none of my business.
 
I was talking about this with a member of my program the other day. She came to me worried about speaking her mind at work because of a group of critical women in her office. I said let me tell you something that someone once said to me – “what others think of you at work is none of your business.”
 
Because truly, there is only one opinion you need to worry about at work or anyplace else for that matter, and that is what you think of you!
 
Next time you are hesitating to speak up and make your point of view heard, ask yourself the following:
 
1. Is what I’m about to say in alignment with my values?
2. Is speaking up authentically me?
3. Does it feel right to stay silent?
 
My student was on board but thought it was surely easier said than done. She asked “How do I DO it, Emily?” I understood what she was saying because when I first heard this advice, I felt the same way. So, I want to share with you what I did and what I advised my client to do:
 
1. BELIEVE – you must first believe that what you say has value. Believing your opinion has value will give you the courage you need to express yourself. Believing your opinion is worthy of being heard leads others to believe it, too.
 
2. AFFIRM – Every morning write down the values that are important to you: I am honest; I am courageous; I am hard-working. Repeat them to yourself throughout the day. Your brain takes what you say as a program that it wants to execute on to make reality. Simply by saying these phrases your brain will believe they are true.
 
3. PLAN – Write down how you will handle conflict if it arises for you today – will you confront the person, will you set the record straight? Will you speak up for yourself? Being prepared with a plan has a huge impact on successfully handling situations when they arise. (Listen to Rick Hanson’s podcast on the courageous brain – https://www.rickhanson.net/a-courageous-brain/?highlight=courage)
 
4. PRACTICE – Finally, practice, practice, practice. Go into each meeting with the goal of contributing at least one thing. The more you speak up, the easier it becomes. The less you worry about it.
 
Employing these tips will help you to take more risks, speak your opinion and feel more confident!
 
Do you have something in your life or business where you are holding back because of the fear of other people’s opinions? Hit reply and let me know and tell me the first tiny step you are going to take to move towards it.

Written by Emily Barrosse

Emily has worked for over 30 years as an editor, marketer, sales guru, public speaker, fundraiser, strategist, and leader. She worked for 25+ years in the publishing industry, where she rose to the position of Editor in Chief of a major New York publisher. She has also worked to raise funds for a non-profit whose mission it was to raise the college enrollment rates for low income high schools.

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