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10 Things You Don’t Need Anyone’s Approval For (Though You Think You Do)

10 Things You Don’t Need Anyone’s Approval For (Though You Think You Do)

You are probably a free person with access to the global Internet and similar luxuries. However, there’s one thing that’s dangerous to your freedom. It’s the seek for other people’s approval. Plenty of folks base their own lives on the opinions of others, afraid to lose validation and be criticized. To me, it’s a deadly disease that paralyzes your ability to pursue your dreams. Fortunately, it’s curable so anyone can reclaim their freedom.

If you are an unconfident person who often isn’t authentic in order to please other people and you’d like to change it, you are in the right place. Over time, you’ll laugh at your past fears and proudly follow your intuition in lieu of sticking to outdated dogmas.

1. You don’t need approval for changing your style.

Let’s begin with the appearance. Are you bored with your current look and you’d like to transform your image? You’d like to make a change, but people are used to your current presence and a drastic modification will definitely draw attention. You know what?

People may talk and judge, but that’s the way it works. You can either accept it and stay authentic anyway or you can live as a slave of their opinions. What might be shocking today, will become a boring reality over time, and you won’t even notice how quickly everyone will get used to your new self.

2. You don’t need approval for changing your social circle.

You are the reflection of the five people you spend the most time with. Without wishing to sound cliché, this sentence has to be mentioned since the most profound life lessons are actually found in adages. It might be the case that your current environment prevents you from becoming who you’d like to be. Some people are great companions, radiating with positive energy while others might spread nothing but negativity.

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It’s your responsibility to adjust your surroundings to your goals. If there’s a negative person in your life that you’d like to avoid, the last thing you should care about is that person’s approval for your decision. It’s tough, but if you feel deep within that change is necessary, go for it regardless of what others think.

3. You don’t need approval for changing your behavior.

Your family, friends, and colleagues may be used to a certain behavior you represent so once you start acting differently, it obviously puts you in the center of attention. Some might start to question that change, but this shouldn’t bother you. As long as you don’t hurt anyone, you have a full right to change the way you behave whenever you want.

If you are a shy or introverted person, however, you’d like to socialize more and become outgoing, the process of change will attract some attention. This might make you feel afraid of being judged, but same as for above examples, you don’t need anyone’s approval for such a transformation. Some people say, fake it until you make it. I would explicate it by saying that you fake it until you believe it. While you do it, forget about how others perceive you.

4. You don’t need approval for changing your beliefs.

Many people were raised according to certain beliefs and dogmas reckoned to be the best in their culture. The truth is, some folks born within that environment don’t accept these as the ultimate truths and see the world completely different.

However, there’s a social pressure which makes it harder to abandon the tradition. Conservative people brought up in that very culture will expect you to behave accordingly. Every move in the opposite direction causes disapproval. They are deeply convinced that’s the straight way to destroy your life, but the fact is, it’s you who’s living it.

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When I declared to my family that my personal beliefs vary a lot from what they taught me, at first, I faced huge disapproval. Honestly, I wasn’t surprised, but while stating it, I wasn’t looking for their approval, but just sharing the information. Over time, the tension fades away and you are happy about being authentic and true to yourself.

5. You don’t need approval for your life priorities.

The typical life priorities vary from culture to culture, however, they have one thing in common. Namely, people look skeptic whenever you refuse to follow. A young person nowadays is supposed to get a degree, get a good job, build a house, buy a fancy car and fully enjoy their success. For some, this might be the best scenario imaginable. Others might consider it a nightmare. Whatever applies to you, it’s your and only your business.

If your number one priority in life is to help people in need, but your parents dream of you becoming a lawyer, then you’ll definitely meet with disapproval. Disappointing your loved ones hurts both you and them. However, a life filled out with regret may be even more harmful. Oppose to misconceptions, it’s following your heart and intuition that’s closest to what you really want to achieve.

6. You don’t need approval for fulfilling your deepest desires.

You may want to do something so crazy that just thinking about it blows your mind. Something you always wanted to do, a desire hidden deep within your soul. But for some reason, you keep procrastinating and putting it off.

If “some reason” happens to be the criticism from your surroundings, it’s time to face the truth and abandon the seek for validation. Most people prefer safety and security. A person who hates sticking out from the crowd is not appropriate for a mentor when it comes to going insane so their approval is the last thing you’ll ever need.

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7. You don’t need approval for your relationship choices.

Relationship choices are fully private issues, yet plenty of people shamelessly judge others’ choices. What they base their judgments on, however, is just a surface. Only you and your loved one know each element of your relationship, that most people may not even notice.

Some relationships draw a lot of attention in certain cultures and experience social pressure and negativity. Narrow-minded people may try to destroy them, as they are deeply convinced they are unacceptable. The truth is, their disapproval doesn’t play any role. They may be loud, but their words are meaningless. Follow your heart and ignore the naysayers.

8. You don’t need approval for your passions.

Imagine a man pursuing to be a ballet dancer or a woman who falls in love with lifting weights. Both are incredibly passionate about it and highly determined to get to the top. There’s a beauty in how they spare no effort to overcome every obstacle and become better.

However, some people won’t notice that. The only thing they see is a controversy — people doing something they don’t consider adequate for their gender. These passionate individuals stick out, so the crowd notices and weak people laugh at them. They may lack approval from the society but in reality, they don’t need it.

Following your passion leads to success, even if there are countless failures along the way. At some point, your success and determination make the defeatists so small you no longer recognize them.

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9. You don’t need approval for your eating habits.

What you put in your body is what you become. Why would you let anyone determine that choice? Eating is such a basic task required to survive, yet it’s very controversial. Different diets and eating patterns are always a hot topic of discussion, be it in the mass media or on the Internet. For example, becoming a vegetarian or vegan can be perceived as crazy. Same thing applies when you base your diet mostly on meat and fats. It’s because “healthy” and “normal” are subjective words.

First of all, eating healthy is not an absolute value, various people see it differently. Secondly, you shouldn’t even care about eating “normally” because it varies from culture to culture. Stick to your personal choice regardless of the opinion of others. Ultimately, it’s your stomach that’s going to digest it.

10. You don’t need approval for following intuition.

There’s a voice hidden deep in your soul which gives you advice on how to act, also known as intuition. This instinct may serve you life-changing tips, but it definitely won’t give you any common advice. Following the typical path often conflicts with our hearts. Simply because the average life is not what we were meant for.

Then again, living a life driven by passion and inner desire isn’t easy. Being aberrational is uncomfortable since your intuition is constantly questioned by society’s norms. The fact is, once you accept that lack of approval for sticking to your instinct, you’ll feel more authentic, content and satisfied.

Featured photo credit: hipster modern stylish blonde man on rails in daily life via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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