May 22nd, 2020
Have you given yourself the total gift of approval or are you continually seeking the approval of others? Hi, this is Grant Herbert, International Influencer and Sustainable Performance Coach, and today, I want to continue our conversation around Personal Power by talking about removing the Approval Addiction.
For many years in my own life, I cared way too much about what other people thought of me, and I went around being the person who needed to be liked, who needed to be approved of who needed to be accepted by others. This led me to become a people pleaser, to work outside my boundaries and to totally erode away any sense of my own true self. And over the next few weeks, I really want to give you the benefit of my experience, not only in my own life, but working with thousands of people around the world who have this exact same challenge. And I want to help you to overcome the Approval Addiction.
You see, an Approval Addiction is just like any other addiction. It says I cannot go a day without getting it. I need that. If I don't have that approval, then I'm not whole. I'm not able to go through my day and go, “Hey, that was a great day.” So in subconscious and conscious ways, we go around looking for things that we can do so that people can approve of us. Now, there's nothing wrong with getting approval from others. It's a good thing. It's a part of life being affirmed and knowing that people value you. That's a great thing. But when it becomes the motive for everything that we do, that's when the problems arise.
You may or may not have seen me talk about before what I call the Performance Trap and that is where we perform on a daily basis to get the approval externally from other people. So, our whole motive for doing the performance is clouded in this need for approval. I see people like speakers, for example. People who need to present in front of people, they are challenged and fearful of doing it and indeed stumble as they are doing it because of this Approval Addiction.
You see, the reason that we get up on a stage is to impart and inspire to others. Therefore, our focus needs to be on others. Yet when we get up there with a need to be approved of, to be good enough, to belong, to be liked and loved, those three universal fears, then our focus is on what we don't have. Our focus is on the internal. So, we start looking inwards instead of looking outward. So, that's just one example.
So even though our motive is to do our best job so that we get that approval, it's actually counterproductive. It actually creates exactly the opposite because it creates a state within us of overwhelm, of doubt, of fear, of anxiety, and the negative effect of those emotions and us feeling that is apparent in the actual performance. So what we set out to get, we didn't get. And then what happens is over and over, we try to do our best so that you were like me and you approve of me, but I'm not getting the approval. So instead of changing the strategy, what we can do is we can allow that evidence that we're getting to further a road how we feel about ourselves.
So, let me help you to understand how to change from performing to get approval to operating in a way that's going to empower you to be the best version of you. When I found this out, when I was introduced to this concept, I've tweaked and massaged over the years and worked with many people with, it changed my life. And let me tell you, it changed it for the better. No longer was I getting up every day needing to get your approval. It's like this video right now. It is not perfect and it's never going to be perfect because I'm not doing these with a videographer with all the bells and whistles and I've got a few lighting challenges and whatever and my team will fix those up in post-production probably.
But it's not about my performance. It's about what you can take from it. It's about what I can inspire you with. So now that I'm not focused on getting your approval, I'm focused on inspiring you and I'm focusing on you. I hope I'm giving you a much better version of me and you're getting so much more out of it. So, put your hand up right now if you would like me to show you how to break free of the Approval Addiction and I can see hands going up in my mind's eye everywhere.
Because this addiction, just like any other addiction is holding you back from being the best version of you, from being, as we talked about last week, being the you that we need so that when we have you and your uniqueness, and what you bring and your genius, collectively as a world, we can be who we need to be. So, let's take a look at how to shift from the Approval Addiction to being self-approved.
So, step one in breaking this Approval Addiction is to work on your limiting beliefs. And if you want to get some help on that, I've done an episode on that. So, just look at the previous episodes and you'll see about breaking your limiting beliefs, reframing them, changing them. But you form beliefs about yourself, I've formed beliefs about myself, which are not true. They are beliefs that we formed that are based on what people said about us and what experiences we went through and our failures or whatever it was. So, the first thing is to build your own identity. Build yourself up, look for reasons to affirm yourself rather than need it from the external. Every one of us needs affirmation and the more of it that we give ourselves, the less we need from others. So, step one is work on your limiting beliefs.
Step two is to control the inner dialogue. And over the next few weeks, I'm going to do an episode to help you to do that. So, look out for that to control that inner dialogue, that self-talk that tells you that you need the approval, that tells you to do things or to not do things based on that fear, based on not being good enough, based on not belonging, based on not being loved. So, retraining your mini-me as I call it, retraining that inner voice is the key to being able to have a voice that helps you to accept yourself.
Step three is to practice your new beliefs. So now that you've got a more healthy set of beliefs about yourself, about the world, about others, you've got a better internal dialogue that reminds you of those beliefs, the more powerful and positive beliefs. Now, it's a matter of rewiring your brain by practicing the new beliefs over and over and over again. And a great belief to start with is that you are enough. You do belong and you are loved.
So, one of the things that I like to do is help my clients to write out some affirmations. So, as a practical exercise that I want you to do to get the most value out of this is to pause the video or podcast right now. And I want you to write out a list of at least 10 things that you like about yourself. Now when you're doing this, you might find that a little bit of a challenge, a little bit of a struggle because it's unfamiliar. Because what most of us are doing are rehearsing the things that we don't like about ourselves.
So as you're doing it, I want you to have the thought and put it straight to paper. Otherwise, that internal voice is going to steal it from you and go, “No, that's not true. Who do you think you're kidding?” Just stay in your logical brain and put something down that you like about yourself. This was a big challenge for me. I worked on this. This took some help. I had to actually get an external coach to pull these things out of me and my first list, about 90% of them, I didn't believe them, but I practiced them anyway because what we can do is we can rewire our brain and we can trick it with future things that we're moving towards by stating them in the present.
So for example, if you’re someone who has a skill that isn't quite yet where you want it to be, instead of saying, “Oh, look. I'm not good at doing videos.” What I could say instead is, “I'm getting better every time I do a video.” So, it's a moving towards what we want. If you want to really get the benefit, you could go, “I am great at doing videos.” And even though it may not be totally true right now, it's an empowering affirmation for you to move towards.
So, there's some tips, hopefully, that will help you to break free of this Approval Addiction. Now, it's not going to happen overnight because you have a pattern of belief and behaviour that's gone on for many, many years. So, it's a matter of practicing, practicing, practicing, repeating the new beliefs, the new behaviours, listening to what you say about yourself in the positive that allows you then to have a new set of neural pathways that will be your new normal.
So when you start having a negative thought, the positive one would jump straight in and take you where you need to go. So, the Approval Addiction is about needing approval from others. What you do when you set it up, as we've just talked about, is you get to a position of self-approval. You see, a lot of times, we go around wanting from others what we haven't given ourselves. And if you don't yet think that you're good enough, you don't yet think that you belong and you don't yet love yourself, then it's an unrealistic expectation for you to get that from others. So, all approval starts with yourself.
Productivity trainers will tell you to delegate. And let me tell you, the only thing that you never want to delegate is approval. That's for you alone. Eleanor Roosevelt said it so well, “What other people think of you is none of your business and nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
So, Approval Addiction to self-approved is the next step in you developing your Personal Power. I'd love to get some feedback from you, whether you're on my YouTube channel, whether you're in my blog or whether it's on the podcast, whether you're connected on social media in some way, jump into the comments, get into the conversation, and I'd love to be here for you so that you can soundboard these new beliefs off me and I'll come back and I'll answer those, every single one of those personally because I really see the value in being able to help people to develop their Personal Power.
Well, that's it for me for another week. Join me again next week when we'll continue this conversation around developing our Personal Power by learning how to remove our masks. I’ll see you then.