This episode discussed how being yourself helps you find the people who are meant to be in your life while helping you find where you really belong in this life. Accepting the fact that not everyone will like you and that you don't belong everywhere makes life easier. Not everyone will like you. And that's a good thing. So stop trying.
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I want to take a minute and talk about the Bell Curve Theory. How a simple bell can illustrate our life. Our lives are meant to be lived with each of us discovering what makes us unique and being who we were meant to be – not who others want us to be, and especially not what we think others want us to be.
To illustrate this, I want to talk about a simple bell curve. Image a bell curve, we’ve all seen a bell before, picture one in your head, or draw one on a piece of paper in front of you.
It curves up and around and then down again. (you can also go to this episode on my website and see my illustrations)
Now on the left, where the curve starts to go up, let’s circle it not a lot, just a small portion, circle it in your head or on the paper if you are drawing it. Let’s say that portion of the bell represents 10% of the curve of the bell.
This 10% represents the percentage of the people we will meet in our life who will love us deeply, unconditionally, no matter what.
Now let’s look at the other side of the bell curve, this time the 10% is the complete opposite – let’s not say “hate” because hate is too harsh of a word.
Plus, It’s not the opposite of love. Indifference is the opposite of love.
So, let’s say this 10% on the opposite side of the bell curve is made up of the people we meet who are completely indifferent to us, and… maybe they don’t like you, perhaps they can’t stand you. (But we’re still not going to say hate.)
EVERYONE else we meet falls somewhere in the middle. Look at that curve, either in your mind’s eye or on the paper in front of you. That leaves 80% of the people you meet as “somewhere in the middle”.
Maybe you’ll argue 10% is not a real number. It not enough? Or too much? Okay, what is a real number? 5%? 25%? Whatever number you want to settle on is fine with me. The number isn’t the point.
The point is when you are being authentically yourself, no matter the circumstance, you will have a certain percentage of people who love you unconditionally or needing to hear what you have to say and an equal percentage of people who do not. With Everyone else falling somewhere in the middle.
When you think about it – that’s not bad. And when you’re being your authentic self in all the places you put yourself, it becomes pretty clear who those people are, Who you can trust, Who lets you be you? Who are the people who aren’t judging you?
Once this is pointed out to you –simply knowing this is the case helps make it easy to be yourself in all places at all times. Once you accept the fact that you’re never going to get everyone to like you. That it’s just not possible. And it is not being realistic. Accepting this concept helps life and circumstances make so much more sense.
If you are not real, and not truly yourself because you are bouncing around trying to make other people happy – or if you are changing who you are based on where you are and who you are with.
This is a dangerous place to be, this is how you lose yourself.
I challenge you to examine these questions:
Let’s remember the bell curve again. 90% of this curve is made up of people who don’t really know the real you who don’t love you deeply and unconditionally.
Right, 90% - The 80% somewhere in the middle people and the 10% truly indifferent people. So, when we change who we are based on who we are with, or we allow the opinions of others to hurt us, in 90% of the cases these opinions and influences are based on the people who don’t know us and don’t love us unconditionally.
Why then do these people have power over us? Power over our self-worth and our emotions?
Why are we giving them so much control over our life?
Standing in who you are, no matter where you are or who you are with; that's where confidence and self-esteem live and thrive. Being yourself no matter the circumstances is how we really see where we fit into the world.
Look at the curve again. And let’s look a different perspective. I want to talk about how people can act a certain way in certain situations and another way in others.
If you act one way around one group of people but then act differently around another group of people and then different still around a third group of people. etc… – (you get my point) – when then are you truly the real you?
Why do people do this?
Because they are trying to fit in. Trying to be liked… Trying to be who they think that person or group of people wants them to be. But then which group is experiencing the real you. Pretending to be somebody other than who you are to fit in someplace is not being authentic.
It’s probably exhausting and it’s bringing on anxiety because you need to constantly change who you are to fit it… and you need to hope you picked the correct personality in each circumstance.
This also leads to depression because you can never know if people like you for who you are… you only have yourself to blame because you’re choosing to not put the real you out there in each circumstance.
This is not being fair to yourself. But it’s also not being fair to that person or group of people you’re with. Look at the bell curve again. If only 10% of the people you meet in life are truly going to love you for you, why are you trying so hard to belong every place you go?
The point of this is to see we don’t need to have everybody like us. It’s not even possible to get everyone to like us anyway. We only need to find our 10% and to live comfortably in that world. This allows us to be true to ourselves and experience the things we want to experience in our life. This allows us to put ourselves in the places we truly want to be.
I want to discuss at the career impact of this. This is especially interesting to me and a big topic with my clients now, since so many people are not happy in their career and because we are at the beginning of what is being called “the great resignation”. The direct result of people working from home for so long is people are realizing they want more, or they want something different In every case, they want better.
They want to stop pretending to be someone they are not, and embrace who they are and what they want their life to look like.
That was my story, I turned my back on who I am, who I used to be, from speaker, facilitator, and coach to an office job, because for a lot of reasons, it was easier.
But when it comes to who I am and what I want my life to look like, I was getting further and further away from that. More and more people are realizing the same thing, the great resignation is real, and I could not be happier about it.
People waking up to who they want to be and not who others want or need them to be.
Ask yourself: Are you in the career you want to be in? Or are you in the career other people think you belong in, or you allowed yourself to get pulled into? Is this the career you fell into at some point and now feel stick with it? – did the temporary fix become acceptable?
If you are not being true to yourself. Especially if other people and other people’s expectations of you is what is guiding you, you are hurting your spirit. This is where unhappiness, depression, and anxiety lives.
It’s a place of disconnect between ourselves and our peace-of-mind. All because we lose sight of who we are somewhere along the way.
Being true and honest to ourselves and our goals while not allowing the opinions of others to negatively affect our self-esteem is where true happiness lies. It’s where we will stop feeling like a pinball bouncing around at the whims and expectations of other people.
Remember, it is not possible for everybody to like us anyway. Not everyone will like our ideas, the way we do things, all of it. (just like we do not like and agree with everyone – even those we love unconditionally. Likewise, we don’t belong everywhere and we won’t fit in everywhere.
The bell curve thory shows us this. And the bell curve doesn’t lie.
Stop saying “yes” when you want to say “no”.
Stop changing your mind because someone else told you to.
Stop feeling insecure or bad about yourself because someone you don’t even know very well insulted you, hurt your feelings, or didn’t agree with you.
Even when it’s someone in the bubble of the 10% who are supposed to love you unconditionally, loving you unconditionally doesn’t mean they will agree with all you do or say, It means they will still love you in spite of all you do and say.
Isn’t finding your bubble better than trying to fit in everywhere and hoping people you don’t really care about or don’t actually have a relationship or connection with controlling your emotions and self-esteem?
Now that we have established, we don’t need to please all of the people all of the time and we don’t need to fit in everywhere or have the need for everyone to like us… It’s also important to not allow the 10% who love us unconditionally to have the power to cause us to question ourselves or feel bad about ourselves or our choices.
They can disagree with us and roll their eyes at our ideas – and they will at times, but they should also still love you and support you. They should not cause us to question who we are and what we have to contribute.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying other people’s opinions shouldn’t matter to you. Of course, you should consider them – but only if you asked for them. And only if they are people whose opinions you can trust.
We need to be careful of unsolicited opinions. We never really know where unsolicited opinions are coming from, regardless of where the person giving them lands on your bell curve. In the majority of the cases, they are coming from an insecurity in the person giving the opinion and is more about them and their fears than it is about you.
If we take these opinions to be truths we can start feeling unsure of ourselves or perhaps even walk away from a goal or interest all because someone else wasn’t sure or criticized what you were doing or talking about. That doesn’t really make sense, but we do it all the time.
This is also the case with solicited advice, so always take what people are saying to you with the understanding that it went through the filters of their life, their insecurities, and their fears.
Again, regardless of where they fall on your bell curve, it is essential you know who you are and what you want out of life, so the opinions and input of others don’t derail you, they just help guide you.
I truly believe we all know who we are and what we want out of life, but I also know some people have a hard time accessing it because they have allowed their lives to be controlled by the thoughts and opinions of others for so long. This is why confidence in who we are and what we want is essential. Without it, we are easily intimidated and swayed by the opinions of others.
Since we are all human and we all have our own fears, insecurities, and filters we see things through based on our own life experiences the opinions of people we love and trust should not be the deciding factor in things we do, especially when our gut is telling us we need to do it… especially if our wants and dreams are telling us to go for it.
Stand in who you are… always.
Listen, but only change your path or direction if you truly believe and agree with what this trusted person is saying.
Always remember, Judgment from others, especially negative judgment from others, regardless of where they fall on your bell chart, is more a reflection on them and where they are in their lives.
In most cases, it has very little to do with you, who you are, and where you are at in your life.
Look again at the bell curve. Remember the bell curve.
When you allow yourself to be negatively affected by somebody’s behavior towards you or their opinion of you, think about where they fall on the Bell curve. Are they in the 10% of people you consider your ally? Someone who loves you unconditionally?
You might want to reconsider that, maybe they’re not in the correct category. Maybe they are really somewhere in the negative 10% – the people who don’t care about you, the people who might not even like you. Most likely they fall in the “somewhere in the middle” category.
Don’t make the mistake of putting people related to you automatically in the 10% of people who love you unconditionally. Because, unfortunately, that is not always the case.
But, No matter where they fall, their opinions should never cause you to question who you are, cause you to feel bad about yourself, or cause you to lose your self-worth.
Be careful who you are giving the power to control your self-esteem over to, it should be no one, no matter where they fall on your bell curve.
I want to talk about people pleasers for a minute.
I know people who enjoyed doing things for others. And that's great - there's nothing wrong with that. But when you are sacrificing your wants and needs for the wants and needs of others at the expense of yourself, your responsibilities, and your happiness this is where it becomes a problem. Especially if it’s because you want them to like you.
Someone close to me worked in the front office at a school, frequently a teacher, another member of the administration staff or someone else with an event at the school would ask this person “hey can you make a couple dozen cookies tonight to bring to school tomorrow for this event or that event? The person always said yes.
But then she would go home and be pissed that her night was taken away because she was making cookies, she was resentful. Herein lies the key for all you people pleasers.
When you honestly agreed to do something for somebody out of the goodness of your heart because you want to help them. That's who you are. that is wonderful. But when it is done with resentment and when it is done because you want people to like you that is where it loses its authenticity. And that is where you are not truly being yourself.
Another thing to add, if you agree to do something for someone to avoid one of your responsibilities or as a means to procrastinate and blame this… that is also not being authentic either.
This is where being a people pleaser becomes a problem, this is where the people-pleaser saboteur has taken over.
So, being a people pleaser is only a problem when you are sacrificing your wants and needs or avoiding your responsibilities and commitments in order to be of service to someone else – especially if the motivation is for them to like you.
When your life suffers as a result, or if resentment is part of the equation this is when being a people pleaser is not healthy. Making sacrifices or missing out on things to help someone through a situation is also different.
I have a sister who has a 5-year-old child who for about three years now has been trying to get early-onset colitis under control. Sometimes she has to spend a significant amount of time at the Children's Hospital downtown with her son. Sometimes they are there for weeks at a time. There have been times they were there for over a month. My sister and her husband have four other children, currently, the oldest is 10 and the youngest is 3. When something happens, and her son needs to go back into the hospital we all rallied around her and her husband to help take care of her other children. They have school and sports and none of us want them missing out on their childhood while their brother needs medical care.
Do we have to sacrifice some of the things we have going on in our lives during this time?
Yes, of course, we do.
This is not about people-pleasing because we are not helping just to please her.
This is all done with love, with intention, and with zero resentment. I'm not doing this because I want my sister or her husband to like me. I do this because I love them. And I love their children. And… I hate that they're going through this in their life,
I will do anything and everything I can to ease the burden and make all of their lives be as normal as possible.
That's the difference.
Look again at your bell curve. See that only 10% of the people you encounter in your life will fit into your life. Stop trying to make that number bigger.
My father taught me the bell curve theory a long time ago ... it has made my life so much easier.
It has helped me see that wherever I am, whoever I engage with, whatever I create, etc. 10% is going to be amazing 10% is going to be crap and everything else falls somewhere in the middle.
When I have a speaking engagement, I walk into the room knowing that 10% of the people who hear me speak, 10% of the people who listen to each episode of this podcast desperately need to hear what I have to say in that moment… 10% don’t care or don’t like the message, maybe they even felt it wasted their time.
And everyone else falls somewhere in the middle.
I’m okay with that…
I can’t produce a podcast or speak to a group of people and appeal to everyone all the time.
I don’t even try to.
I am here for the 10% who desperately need to hear what I have to say in this episode.
My son is a musician, and he knows not everyone is going to like his music, if he was desperate for everyone to like it, he would never get anywhere.
Apply this theory to all you do, at work know 10% of your co-workers are going to really engage with you and connect with your personality, 10% of the people won’t.
Really takes the pressure off of trying to be all things to all people. We are all different for a reason and because of that, we need to find where we belong and where we are meant to contribute our part.
Notice I didn’t really address the bottom 10% if the bell curve?
There’s no reason to. They exist in all of our lives and it’s in the acceptance of the existence of that 10%, -the knowing they exist and there is nothing we can do about-that alone should bring you peace and enable you to let go of trying to belong everywhere.
Now that we‘ve discussed this, you know that trying to please that 10% or trying to get the 80% somewhere in the middle to like you isn’t possible and if you succeed with that 10%, it’s only going to create a different pool of people who are indifferent to you.
And did you get them to like you by being someone they needed you to be and not who you really are?
So, forget about them, and go be 100% yourself and seek the 10% that are unconditionally there for you because of who you are- not because of who you are pretending to be!
Your passion and confidence can only be seen when you are being your true self. Knowing who you are and standing in who you are that’s going to get the people who are supposed to be in your top 10% to gravitate towards you.
My name is Wendy Pilcher and I thank you for listening to this episode of Identify and Conquer. You can my bell curve in my show notes for this episode on my website at identifyandconquer.com. If you are one of those people who operate out of the need for people to like you – it can be paralyzing and cause you to lose sight of who you are and what you want out of life.
Go to my community at changingmybrain.com and participate in the conversation. There are various opportunities to work with me listed there, you can also support this show by buying me a coffee, that link is located in my show notes.