#155-Overcoming The Need For Approval
John (Intro): I have been on a quest to learn everything I can about leadership obsessed with what makes the best leaders so good. After running companies small and large for the last 20 years, today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito and I’m your host. I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this topic: What makes the best leaders so good? Welcome to Tomorrow’s Leader.
John: All right, welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dive deep on all things leader-related, related to leading yourself and leading others. I’m John Laurito, your host today and every day. So I want to talk today about a topic that I think plagues a lot of people. And that has to do with how you gauge yourself. How do you actually know if you’ve done a good job at something? I don’t care what it is if you’re in business or your performer, your parents, your coach, whatnot, we all try to get a sense and like to get a sense of how we’ve done or are doing with something. So here’s my question to you. How do you gauge that?
John: I mean, just think about what you love to do, whether it’s a hobby. If you sing, if you perform, if you do something, if you’re in business or whatever it is, how do you gauge how good you are at what you do? That’s a really interesting question and it’s a question I think a lot of people have struggled with because they don’t necessarily either know where they get the sense of how they’ve done or they may look at the wrong places. So here’s what I’m talking about. There’s a lot of people out there that feel the need for other people to tell them they’ve done well in order for them to feel like they’ve done well with something. And I suffered from this for a long time myself.
John: And I don’t mind telling you it’s one of these things. I’m like, OK, I don’t really know. Or I convinced myself I didn’t know how well I had done with something. And it’s entirely my opinion on how I did entirely based on feedback that I got from other people. And it’s interesting because, for those of you who might have watched an episode, if you have not, you’ve got to go back and watch this. I did an interview with Dusty. Dusty Slay is a comedian that I had seen perform very, very popular. Many of you know who he is. He’s been all over. He’s been on Leno and on Jimmy Kimmel and whatnot. And I got an opportunity to see him live and went up to him afterward. I’m like, hey, I’d love to do a podcast with you. And he’s like, what’s it on? I said leadership is like, well, what do I know about leadership? I’m like, I’d love to pick your brain on, like, how you how you’re, you know, how you work, how you lead yourself through a set. And this is a really tough business and how you did and all this kind of stuff.
John: So we end up doing a really cool interview. And, you know, it was one of the things that he said that stuck in my mind. I said I asked them the question, which I think a lot of people would like to know. Listen, you’re a comedian. You’ve got a lot of pressure on you to make people laugh. I said, what happens when you start setting a lot of your sets are an hour. What happens when you start a set and you bomb or you just, you know, your jokes are not landing? I said, what do you say to yourself and how do you kind of get yourself back
on track? And his answer was awesome. He said, well if they’re not laughing at my jokes, that’s not my problem. I know my jokes are funny, I mean, I’ve had enough people laugh at my jokes, I’ve tested them in all audiences. I know I’m funny, I know my jokes are funny. So if they’re not laughing, that’s their problem. They just don’t have a good sense of humor.
John: And I’m like, wow, man, that is brilliant. That is absolutely brilliant. What a great sense of who you are. What a great level of confidence to get to that point where, listen, you know, if you’re not laughing, it’s not because of I mean, it’s not because of me. It’s because of you that I think a lot of us aspire to get to that point. What a great friend feeling to not be burdened by feeling the need to impress or please other people that your own satisfaction is where you get that from your own feeling like, OK, did I deliver? If I did, yes, I know it. Nobody else is going to know it. I know if I delivered.
John: So, you know, with me for years, if I did a presentation and I’m not saying that I don’t appreciate feedback, everybody else’s feedback, I love feedback and I still seek feedback. So I cannot say that I am fully beyond this because I thrive in getting really positive feedback and stuff. But I’ve become much better at measuring my own performance based on how I feel I did, because I know what my potential is and I know what I can do and I know what it feels like when I deliver an A-plus. And I know I have high expectations of myself, so I know I make it hard for myself, but I also know that I’m in control of that. So if I feel like I deliver an A-plus, does it matter? Or if I feel like delivering an A or an A-minus, does it really matter what other people think?
John: If I feel that I delivered my best, that I know my best has gotten great reviews and great feedback in the past, then then it’s like dusty places. Well, they’re not understanding or appreciating what I’m delivering, but I’m delivering great stuff. So it’s an interesting thing. You know, I remember doing a presentation and sometimes you just misread even if you are the type of person that you’re looking for, feedback or measuring your success and how you did based on feedback, you know. You know, maybe that’s. And by the way, for those of you watching on YouTube here, I’ve got to figure out how to adjust these shades because I do my podcast like now, which is fine, and I got sun coming in. So I get weird lighting here. So anyways, home studio problems.
John: But anyways, you know, I, I used to judge very much how I did based on, you know, feedback visually from people. If I’m presenting like I’m looking at their female expressions and everything like that. But you have to understand, sometimes people don’t communicate the right message or what they’re thinking. And what reminds me of that, I remember a time this was way back when in the beginning my career and I did this I would do at the beginning of our branch meetings. We did these branch meetings once a month. And my boss, Mike Rearden, asked me to introduce all of the new financial advisors and do it in kind of a funny, comical way, because he knew I had fun with that and had a sense of humor and could do that. Or you felt like you did that pretty well.
John: Anyways, I started doing it. I really got into it. And it was really a lot of fun. I would do these goofy I’d interview people at a time, you know, I would ask them all kinds of weird questions like, you know, have you ever had your moment of fame? What was the worst job you ever had? What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever done in your life? You know, all this kind of stuff? And then I would introduce them to the whole group. So it was not a typical
introduction. It wasn’t like, hey, here’s Mary Smith. Mary, we worked in this job and she lives here. And it was totally different. So it was kind of a little bit of poking fun, but in a good fun, clean way, safe way. And it ended up getting a lot of laughs.
John: And people look forward to it and I look forward to doing it. I remember the one time doing this and there were probably, I don’t know, 50 people in the audience. And I remember going through this and there’s this one guy and I’ll even call him out on it because of Steve Goldsmith. Steve, if you’re listening, I don’t know if I ever told you this, but he was one of the advisors. And I remember looking at him while I’m doing my schtick and he’s not, he’s looking at me with this, like, puzzled expression. And he’s not smiling, let alone laughing. He’s not nodding his head. He’s just sitting there like, you know, almost confused and trying to figure out what I’m saying. And I’m delivering what I thought was funny stuff and good quality stuff.
John: And I’m just thinking, I had got in my head and I don’t even know if it affected my performance. But bottom line, I remember taking notice of it and I remember not being able to stop noticing it. And I’m in tears. I’m just missing the mark with this guy. Meanwhile, the other people are laughing. So but it was in my head. So afterwards he comes walking up to me and I’m thinking, oh, jeez, here it is. I’m going here like, you know, across the line. You’re funny. Me, I didn’t like it, blah, blah, blah, it wasn’t funny. And he comes up stone-faced and says, Hey. I got to tell you something, I’m like, oh, jeez, he says, that was phenomenal. That was some of the funniest stuff I have heard in a long time. I’m like, really? Like, Dude, your face was not telling me that at all. I got to be honest with you, your face told an entirely different story. Man, you scared the crap out of me.
John: And anyways, he’s like, now is fantastic. I loved it. It was great, but it was confusing. His face did not match anything that he was trying to communicate nonverbally. And it just from that moment I’ve realized, you know what? There are some people that have very elastic, expressive faces and body language. I think I do just or most people can tell how I feel and what I’m thinking based on my facial expression. Not everybody is like that. And it just made me realize that you can’t always judge that even if you are that person that thrives on the feedback and that’s how you are judging your own performance.
John: You know, there are some people that are just not going to give you accurate feedback. How many people do you know? Maybe some of you were like this where you will never give somebody a ten out of ten. Doesn’t matter how great it is. You know, I’m watching David Portnoy, the present day, the guy who has Barstool Sports, which is awesome. He does these pizza reviews. I don’t think he’s ever given a pizza. I haven’t seen one maybe, but I don’t think he’s ever rated a pizza and he’s gone. I don’t know hundreds of them. I don’t think he’s rated a pizza place more than a 9 or better at the highest I’ve seen, I think it is like an 8.6 Or something. That’s the best. And I’m thinking, wow.
John: So there’s a guy if I was really after a 10, I’m not going to get it. I mean, if none of these other hundreds of pizza places have ever gotten a nine and maybe there is one, I’ve just not seen one. And he’s been all over the place, New York, Chicago, L.A., you know, Philly. I mean, every place you can possibly think of around the country and nothing so nothing above nothing at a nine or above. So you got to realize there are some people that, you know, was telling somebody recently.
John: You know, when I tend to cook meals for my kids, I just grill that last night with them. And when I make something, I always then they’ll if I were here, I’d say, hey, what do I always ask after I make something like that? You always ask on a scale of one to ten, what do you think it is? And they always tell me they’re giving me their true rating. And if they don’t give me a ten, I’m like, why? What. I mean, tell me what’s wrong with it. I’m like, no, I loved it. It was just I’d give it an eight or nine or whatever was fantastic was great. I’m like, well, what does it take to get a ten, dammit? Tell me what it takes.
John: I got a ten out of ten, so I don’t know, I’ve just become a little lunatic. But it’s funny, you know, there are some people that they’re great. Hey, you know what? Listen, you did a bang-up job. You’re fantastic. It is going to come out really good. They may not say you did a bang-up job and you did fantastic, but them saying you did really good is their version of saying you did a bang-up job is incredible. Someone’s eight might be your ten. Someone’s six might be your ten. So when you get overly focused on other people’s measurement of you, then number one, you’re putting yourself through undue misery and you’re ultimately, ultimately, potentially using the wrong measuring stick. You may not even be clear on that.
John: So my learning from this is to figure out for yourself. Get your own measuring stick. Figure out what it look like for me to feel good if I’m trying to lose weight and look better, am I only going to derive pleasure when people tell me, hey, wow, you look great because how many times have somebody said, have you thought about somebody? Wow, that person looks great. They look really great. They look like they lost some weight. But you didn’t tell them you thought it. You just didn’t tell them. Well, OK, now reverse it. How many people have thought you look great and never told you they thought you look great, you lost weight or maybe somebody said it and hey, you look great. You lost weight.
John: Yeah, I lost ten pounds and then somebody else is. Yeah. You know, I thought you lost weight. You look great. And they wouldn’t have said something had the other person said it. So why are we killing ourselves, trying to get other people’s feedback and approval when in reality they might already be giving it to you in their mind, they’re just not communicating it to you. So you’re killing yourself over nothing. You’re looking for something that’s not going to come to you in the format that you want it. You know, maybe you are crushing it at work and your boss is just not telling you there are some people then there are some bosses that could think you are absolutely fantastic, yet they won’t tell you.
John: At the time, you know, I had one of my bosses say, you know, Hey, yeah, are you sitting in a group meeting? We had probably, I don’t know, eight leaders or so. And he said, yeah, my best trainer, John Loredo, over there. And I’m like, I am. I had no idea you thought I was the best trainer here. That’s fantastic. I appreciate that. But I had no idea. I didn’t think I was. But now, after he said that, that was pretty cool. But here he had been thinking about it. And I don’t know what made him say in that group session that was cool. But had he not, I wouldn’t have known that’s how he felt. So if I was purely just looking for his feedback to give me a feeling like I was a good trainer, I would have been potentially waiting forever and I would have thought I’m less of a trainer because he didn’t give me that feedback.
John: See what I’m saying? So it’s this nasty catch 22. And we’re constantly only driving our own feeling of self-worth and value of what we’re doing based on how other people say we’re doing. You’re setting yourself up for disappointment and ultimately you’re going to
break down your own confidence. You’re going to lose confidence. Instead, figure out your own measuring stick, figure out what it looks like when you’re presenting what your best look like and measure it against that. Figure out if you’re play soccer, what you know, how you know when you got your A-game.
John: Doesn’t matter if people tell you how you’re doing. It doesn’t matter how many goals you score. Figure out what your A-game is when you are playing your best and measure it against that. Figure out if you’re a singer. What does that look like and sound like if you’re a performer in other ways? If you were a leader, what does your best you know, what your A-game looks like and everybody’s a leader. We know that. But think about what your A-game looks like by your own assessment and measure it against that. I cannot tell you how freeing that is when you figure out the whole method to this. It’s not what other people say. It’s what I think about how I know I can do it. That’s what this comes down to.
John: So I hope I gave you some stuff to think about. Reach out to me. Honestly, I and I honestly mean that. Reach out to me. You’ve got my email. If you don’t, I’ll just give you right now it’s John@lauritogroup.com See, look at that. Got another talent anyways. Feel free. Reach out to me. Let me know your thoughts please. And I’m more than happy to chat about it with you. So in the meantime, you know the deal, say it with me like, subscribe, share, comment. Give me ideas on your future topics, your guests and go down below. Give a five-star review. I appreciate you listening and watching. Thanks. I have a good one.
John (Closing): Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions, or inquiries, about having me at your next event, or personal coaching, reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org Once again, that’s email@example.com. Thanks! Lead on!