Over the years I have gotten a lot of criticism about the expectations I have for myself and those around me.  I know that sometimes I’m not viewed in a positive light because I’m always driving forward.  As much as we don’t like to admit it, many people find that trait more unpalatable in females than males.  Which just means that those people who I rub the wrong way feel the bristle a little harder.

As much as I want to say the criticism doesn’t bother me, it does.  I know all the experts say that I shouldn’t be concerned about how others view me.  That confident people don’t bother themselves with that kind of information.  Conversely, you can’t succeed – especially as a leader – if you have people who don’t believe in you or who view you in a negative light.  So, you have to keep your eye on how others see you.

I have learned, without a doubt, that you cannot control how people perceive you.  You can only control your actions that they base those perceptions on.  I am driven, always striving to do more and reach farther.  Some people perceive that positively, others believe that means I’m not dedicated or committed to the things I’m involved in, because there are so many things on my plate.  I have been praised for being a “hill taker” by some and have been told that I come off as critical and rushed to others, based on the same set of actions on my part.

You cannot control how people perceive you.
You can only control your actions
that they base those perceptions on. 

The quote by Chris Hadfield, displayed on this image from Kim Fitzsimmons has been a guide for me.  “Look at who you want to be, and start sculpting yourself into that person.  You may not get exactly where you thought you’d be, but you will be doing things that suit you in a profession you believe in.”  When I hear the things people say they don’t appreciate about me, I weigh them against who I want to be and where I want to go and have to decide at that Decidepoint what I’m going to do…  thank them for providing feedback and continue forward, or take a more introspective approach and alter my actions so that others will see my intentions more clearly in my actions.

I know the adage of wolves not being bothered by the opinions of the sheep, however you can never be the best version of yourself if you don’t pay attention to how others see you.  The main thing to keep in mind is that you can’t please every person.  You need to weigh the comments as they come in, but you need to be open to others helping you improve.


Image credit: Kim Fitzsimmons

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