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One of my coaching clients came up with a pretty cool concept, he calls it the “inner reputation”. It’s something he often thinks about to guide his decision-making.
Now what I see as a struggle for most people is they’re so worried about their “outer reputation”. They’re so worried what other people will think of them and say about them and feel about them. They’re worried about how they’re seen in general.
This means every decision they make is like an algorithm. They have to consider all the rippling out consequences of every word and action. It makes it nearly impossible to do anything other than generic people pleasing or avoidance.
Real connections and true self-confidence cannot coexist with trying to maintain a good outer reputation.
And because they’re so worried about this, there’s no room left over to be worried about what they will think of themselves – their inner reputation.
Eventually, they become like most of my clients when I first meet them: unsure of who they are, surrounded by low quality connections (or alone), and frustrated with a life spent worrying instead of thriving.
This problem can be solved with a little question.
When you go to make a decision, or after you’ve made a decision, or done anything really especially in a social environment, ask yourself,
“How will I feel about myself later for having done this?”
As opposed to, How other people feel about me and how will they see me?
If you spend a week constantly questioning yourself in this way, you’ll notice that your inner reputation is actually more important to you than what other people think. You’ll see how worrying about your outer reputation leads you to commit breaches of your values and disappoint yourself with weak behaviour and untrue words.
The key to confidence is impressing yourself, not others.