After visiting with a customer recently (I still have a real job as a medical device territory manager ya know), she apparently didn’t like my shoes. I’ve been a Nike guy my whole life, but I went crazy at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale a few months ago and bought some funky red and blue Adidas that look like they are wrapped in fishnets. I know they aren’t for everyone, but here’s the point... as I’ve become older and wiser, I’ve learned this important life skill... I call it 0FG, as in:
Zero F‘s Given
These funky Adidas might be my favorite shoes I own and I don’t need validation from this nurse or anyone. This is one of the most powerful states one can be as a performer, which has eluded me for most of my life. I was born a pleaser. I’m a recovering perfectionist, and I used to live and die by the opinions of others.
After years of working on myself, I am so proud to write this article and say this with capital letters...
I DON’T NEED VALIDATION FROM YOU!
Think of Clint Eastwood, The Rock, or Serena Williams... that’s the mindset I’m talking about. We work hard and go for it, but give no F’s in the process.
Wow, it is so freeing to ditch the dead weight of trying to please everyone. I feel like I’ve shed 50 pounds of drama and gained 50 feet of height to reach my potential.
So how did I get here and why is this topic so interesting? For some reason, not giving a F is in high demand. Mark Manson’s book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F•CK, sold over a million copies in less than a year. Will Smith even asked Manson to help him write his book (can’t wait). My Facebook Live show The Power Of [Not Giving a Sh•t] featuring my wife Kendra (who is the queen of 0FGs), is by far one of my top viewed episodes. Link to this episode here.
With the growing presence of social media and underlying human desire to fit in, and be liked... times are especially tough right now in the realm of caring what people think. Instant gratification and constant validation are thrown at our face daily. It’s tough to not give a shit when you see everyone you know posting pics of an altered public life showcasing their highlights, while you sit there in your PJs eating cereal for dinner watching Diners Drive-In’s and Dives. Let’s stop that self sabotaging behavior and get down to business.
I got to this place of being an 0FG by focusing on several main concepts. If you are looking to get on the 0FG train, I’m your captain and these are the 4 rules to live by:
1. Care/Don’t Care
This is what I call the Powerful Paradox. A paradox is two opposite forces coming together as one. In this case, I’ve learned to juggle both of the concepts of caring and not caring at the same time. Let’s breakdown the CARE side first. The mission is to love yourself, give yourself grace, and be your biggest fan (aside from your faith, the most important relationship is the one with yourself... no one talks to you more than you do). Next, care about other people (especially those in your inner-circle). Love them and sincerely care about their wellbeing. Finally, care about your craft (whatever your profession, hobby, or passion that you pursue). Once that is established, then DON’T GIVE AN F what people think.
If you can master this juxtaposition statement (suggested by High Performance expert, Dr. Michael Gervais), “I love you, but I don’t care about what you think of me,” there is serious power in that. Now, it’s important to be open to feedback from those close to you and in your inner-circle, but random people on Instagram, old high school friends, random relatives, or strangers... who gives a flying F. Just do you! It’s exhausting trying to please everyone. LeBron, Tom Brady, and Taylor Swift have just as many haters as fans... you can’t please everyone, so stop trying. Not everyone has to like or agree with you. Again, if you are doing what you love and being authentic, F the rest!
2. Know Your Identity
Ok, now that we are on the topic of being authentic, it’s important to spend the time to get clear on who you are. Have you done the work to write down what you stand for? Many people take action based on feelings. The challenge with this approach is that our feelings often lie to us. You aren’t going to feel like doing that hard thing or be vulnerable, but if you have a clear grasp of a) who you are, b) what you want, and c) what values guide your behavior... taking action and making decisions are much easier.
Try this exercise:
Step 1 – Write down three words that most represent who you are and what actions or states of being that are most important to you... I call this your 3 Truths (shout out to Lewis Howes).
Step 2 – What are three core values that you’d like to guide your behavior? These words and concepts will be like your internal constitution and compass. See my diagram below. My truths are on the inside of the triangle and my values are on the outside.
3. Discomfort is a Must
Putting in this work to gain self-awareness takes great effort, self-reflection, and vulnerability. You must put yourself out there and get comfortable being uncomfortable. This means doing the things you once feared; saying no to people who suck energy out of your life; and finally doing the activities that give you energy... which means putting yourself first (self care anyone?). When you do this, you’ll have more energy to give, serve, and bring value to others. A personal example for me is public speaking. What once was my biggest fear, now gives me my deepest joy (while bringing value to others). Attack your fear and watch your 0GF meter go off the charts.
4. Shift Validation
Finally, when you are part of the 0FG Club, you will shift how you receive validation. The main point of this mindset is to stop the need of receiving constant validation from others... especially coming from image, outcomes, and opinions. The aim is to gain validation from living as your true authentic self and by growing daily. Below is a breakdown on how I receive validation (based off of my 3 Truths and 3 Core Values):
- Was I authenticly myself in that situation?
- Was I fully present in the moment?
- Did I display courage by taking action and being vulnerable?
- Did this interaction, engagement, or project offer me an opportunity to display gratitude, service, and a chance to grow my skills?
If I can say yes to these questions... I’m staying true to my vision, identity, and mission to be a light to others. Thus... zero F’s will be given in the process (whether I hit the mark or not).
Now It’s Your Turn
I had a coaching session with a client earlier this week and I went away from our normal performance plan and jumped right into this topic. I said F-it, I think you need to hear this. After explaining what I just shared with you, he replied, “This is exactly what I needed to hear today, thank you... this was the best session yet... we dug deep!” F’ing Hell Yes, we dug deep! You owe it to yourself to do the necessary work to get to a place of internal understanding and peace.
I spoke on a college campus recently and I received the best compliment I’ve heard yet. After speaking, someone told me, “I wish I could not care what people think like you.”
I thought to myself, Oh man, only if you knew how much I used to care, and still care, but in a different way. If you only knew how much work, time, failure, and effort this has taken me to get here (and I still have much growth to attain)... but it is well worth it.
Now back to you. Stop playing small and start playing big. Go for it! Go get yourself some funky Adidas (or whatever look you like that bucks the trend) and rock them with a smile, some swag, and zero Fs given... then watch your happiness and performance take off.
Collin Henderson is a Peak Performance Coach who works with business professionals, athletes, and leaders to help bring out their best as an individual and team. Buy his books here to improve your self awareness and execution.