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4 Ways to Stop Seeking Out Approval at Work

Being rejected

Research has shown that social rejection activates many of the same brain regions involved in physical pain, which helps explains why disapproval stings.

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4 Ways to Stop Seeking Out Approval at Work

4 Ways to Stop Seeking Out Approval at Work

https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-steps-to-stop-seeking-approval-in-the-office-and-what-to-do-instead

themuse.com

6

Key Ideas

Approval-seeking territory

You're in this territory if you:

  • Change or downplay your point of view to appease your boss or agree with the rest of the team in meetings.
  • Compliment colleagues’ work, so they’ll like you.
  • Always say yes to requests for your time, even if it means compromising your professional boundaries.
  • Fail to speak up if you’ve been treated unfairly by a co-worker or boss.
  • Become upset or insulted when someone disagrees with you or heavily edits your work.

Behind Your Need for Approval

Reflect on how your childhood or early development may be contributing to your current approval-seeking behavior. In many cases, a tendency to seek approval at work stems from something in your past. 

For example, were you taught to respect authority growing up? If so, you may feel uncomfortable expressing disagreement in work contexts.

Accept Rejection

See disapproval as a form of feedback, as information you can use to improve and make your next performance even stronger. It also helps to also re-frame rejection as something positive. 

It means you’re moving forward and pushing limits, rather than just staying in your comfort zone.

Embrace a Growth Mindset

By understanding that there is abundant room for growth, improvement, and success, you free yourself from needing approval from others.

Focus on the Process, Not Outcomes

If you usually seek approval, focus on improving processes, rather than achieving a particular outcome.

When you focus your energy on one singular result (getting a promotion or raise for example) you attach your self-worth to external standards—which may be outside of your control.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Impostor Syndrome

It is a psychological phenomenon that reflects the belief that you’re an inadequate and incompetent failure despite evidence that indicates you’re skilled and quite successful.

The Perfectionist

They set the bar excessively high for themselves and when they fail to reach their goals, they experience major self-doubt. For this type, success is rarely satisfying because they believe they could’ve done even better.

But that’s not productive. Learning to celebrate achievements is essential if you want to avoid burnout and find contentment.

The Superwoman/man

Impostor workaholics are actually addicted to the validation that comes from working, not to the work itself. They push themselves to work harder, to measure up with their colleagues.

Start drifting away from external validation. No one should have more power to make you feel good about yourself than you.

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Fear of rejection

The main reason why we are having a hard time declining other people's requests is that we are afraid to be rejected. We are afraid that people might think negatively. 

Stop Saying Yes When You Want to Say No
  • Saying No Doesn’t Mean You’re a Bad Person: Saying no doesn't mean that you are being rude, selfish, or unkind. These are all unhelpful beliefs that make it hard to say no. Learning where these beliefs have come from is a great way to learn to let go of them.
  • Knowing Your Value:  Learning to say no is realizing that you are valuable and choosing your own opinion about yourself over others.
  • Is It Really Worth It?: Learning to say no is also deciding if saying yes is really worth it. Think about the anguish, stress, and resentment that saying yes has caused you. Wouldn't it be so much easier and straightforward to just say no in the first place?
Helpful Tips for Saying No
  • Be direct.
  • Don't apologize and give all sorts of reasons.
  • Be honest.
  • Don't delay your response.
  • Be polite.
  • Practice saying no. This will get you feeling a lot more comfortable with saying no.
  • Know your worth. Don't mind what other think of you.
Defining difficult people
Defining difficult people

We are social creatures who desire validation. We feel good when others share our belief system. But we feel dejected when others do not value our inputs, crush our ideas, or ignore what we have to...

Influences that define difficult people

We view the world and the people in it from a specific paradigm.

How we relate to someone is driven by our personality, expectations, background, and experience. Why we find someone difficult is then a very personal affair.

The TRICK framework that drives us
  • T - Tagging. We are quick to label others as needy, manipulative, fake, arrogant, but explain away our own selfish acts and believe we are better than others.
  • R - Righteous. When we find someone difficult, we start believing in the righteousness of how we feel, what we want, and why the other person deserves to be treated in a certain way. We reject them as a person, as well as their ideas.
  • I - Intention. Once we know we are right, it's easy to assume they act out of bad intent.
  • C - Confirmation. Once we think someone is difficult, every interaction serves as a validation of our beliefs. We will reject the evidence that contradicts our beliefs and seek information that strengthens our views.
  • K - Keenness to fix others. Without changing our own behavior, we assume the other person is at fault and then desire to fix them.

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