Caring What Others Think

So often, we’re told not to listen to what others say about us – not to worry about what they think, pay no attention to their opinions. And while that’s good advice for some things, I think we miss out on some valuable intel. Set aside, for a moment, the notion of constructive criticism or looking for the gem of good feedback delivered in a mountain of shit. I’m not talking about those things (at the moment, anyway – I think we can get a lot out of feedback, even if it’s not delivered in the best way. But that’s another blog post from another day.).

What I’m talking about is what our friends and trusted advisers see in us. I wouldn’t have gotten into the type of consulting I do now if it hadn’t been for a friend who had a job and thought I could help her out. She described me as being good with teams and getting buy-in and consensus. These aren’t the primary ways I would have described myself, but she was right. I am good at those things, even if they don’t pop into my mind as the things I’m best at (they are now, thanks to her).

We know we’re usually our harshest critic, but why is it so hard to listen to those around us who have seen what we’re capable of? It’s easy to believe the bad things, but so much harder to believe we have talents we may not even know about or think of as strong skills. You value your friends’ judgment, so why not value it when it’s about you and your amazingness?

I was recently approached about a job opening and I believe I know the perfect person for it, so I connected the employer and the candidate. It’s not quite a job the candidate has done before, but there’s no question in my mind that she would knock it out of the park in this position. She was hesitant as we talked about it. As we talked through the skills and experience I thought she could bring to it, I think I was able to convince her, but it took some doing. From the outside, I don’t even see how that’s possible – this job was made for her. But the job title was making her uneasy. The job title was just the title. It didn’t get to the heart of her skills and passion, which were absolutely what the employer wants and needs. I’m happy to report they’re in discussions now, so we’ll see where it goes.

So the moral of the story – don’t listen to the haters, but listen to the people who have your back. They know your talents and abilities and want the best for you. And you have great taste in friends, so listen to them.

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