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4 Ways to Stop Seeking Out Approval at Work

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.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

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

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Key Ideas

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.

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:

Acknowledge Your Emotions

Mentally strong people admit when they're embarrassed, sad, disappointed, or discouraged. They have confidence in their ability to deal with uncomfortable emotions head-on, ...

Rejection And Pushing Limits

For mentally strong people, rejection serves as proof that they're living life to the fullest. They expect to be rejected sometimes, and they're not afraid to go for it, even when they suspect it may be a long shot.

If you never get rejected, you may be living too far inside your comfort zone.

Treat Yourself With Compassion

Rather than think, "You're so stupid for thinking you could do that," mentally strong people treat themselves with compassion. 

They respond to negative self-talk with a kinder, more affirming message.

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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.
Acknowledging Emotions

Trying to minimize the pain by convincing yourself—or someone else—it was “no big deal” will only prolong your pain. The best way to deal with uncomfortable emotions is to face them head-on....

Rejection and pushing limits

If you never get rejected, you may be living too far inside your comfort zone

You can’t be sure you’re pushing yourself to your limits until you get turned down every now and then. When you get rejected for a project, passed up for a job, or turned down by a friend, you’ll know you’re putting yourself out there.

Treat yourself with compassion

Whether you got dumped by your long-term love or blindsided by a recent firing, beating yourself up will only keep you down. Speak to yourself like a trusted friend.

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