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4 Ways to Stop Seeking Out Approval at Work

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.

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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

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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.

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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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.
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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Prepare for rejection

Always have a rejection-processing protocol in place. Debrief with personal and professional support people who can empathize and appreciate your experiences without passing judgment, criticizing o...

Find the blessings in rejection

In many cases, rejections are blessings in disguise. Maybe you don't want those customers that rejected your product.

Refer and direct those customers to your competitors that fit their needs. They certainly would not forget the lengths you went to. Such service is rare.

Feed your growth mindset

You might initially doubt yourself, question your competency and your self-worth but after you have weathered the storm, activate your growth mindset and start asking questions: 

What can I do differently? What have I discovered about myself? What changes can I make? What will I do differently next time? 

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