Who Is Your Everybody?
By Rebecca Coates Nee
Everybody has an Everybody - a They, a Them, a mysterious
amorphous group of people who are secretly recording and grading
everything we say, do and wear. For broadcasters, Everybody
is The Viewers. They - according to the consultants -share
identical opinions on our voice, mannerisms and head shape.
Unfortunately, everybody's Everybody is usually formed by
the loudest critics and the most negative comments we've encountered
in our life. Our Everybody can include parents, siblings,
playground peers, coworkers, teachers and bosses. But is our
Everybody a true representation of everybody?
Most of us will give a hateful letter or rude phone call the
weight of Everybody while forgetting the mounds of good comments
we've received. In her book, "Finding Your Own North
Star," Career Coach Martha Beck writes that our definition
of Everybody keeps us from being true to our real selves.
That's because we base our actions on how this sinister group
of Everybody might respond:
I can't leave my job because Everybody will think I'm a quitter/a
I can't call in sick because Everybody will think I'm faking
it/on a job interview/lazy.
I can't be myself because Everybody would hate me.
The problem is, Beck writes, that our Everybodies are a very
limited focus group -formed by as few as three people. Here
are some exercises, based on those in Beck's book, to help
you get over your myth of Everybody:
1) Make a list of all the beliefs you have about yourself.
These usually start with, "I'm too . " fill in the
blank - slow, awkward, pretty, fat.
2) Now go back and assign a specific Everybody to each belief.
Where did the belief originate? With an offhand remark from
a harried parent or miserable boss?
3) Make a list of positive beliefs about yourself - and link
specific names to them. Who has told you that you are successful,
that you can achieve your dreams, that you have natural talent
4) Take a look at the two lists. Do you have more respect
and trust for the people on the negative Everybody list or
the positive Everybodies?
5) Decide to make Everybody on your side. Redefine your Everybody
using only the people you most trust and respect. Choose to
associate primarily with your positive Everybodies and ask
them for their honest opinions about your strengths and weaknesses.
Finally, even when it appears Everybody thinks a certain way,
know that they may be wrong. Some of the most successful people
got where they are in spite of what Everybody told them. How?
Because they clearly knew who they were and what they wanted.
We all do- somewhere deep inside, but Everybody usually makes
us forget what we're all about. If you're one of the many
people Everybody has managed to confuse, read Beck's book.
Then tell Everybody to do the same.