I don’t think the impact of peer pressure ever ends! As Greg, my husband, and I spoke about the subject on the podcast, we defined what sparked this conversation. It was the expectations we all live with, both in life and in our businesses. We look at what others are creating, where they are working, traveling or even obtaining and we just can’t help but assess and compare our situation.
Peer pressure at its root is all about managing expectations. To do so, coupled with defining and owning your core values will most effectively manage the effects of peer pressure. There are huge benefits that can include staying out of debt, living in a location you love or even working in a field you are passionate about. We will cover three steps that will hopefully help you manage the effects of peer pressure in your life, no matter what level or stage you are at. One, have a pre-determined plan. Two, implement your plan with confidence and three, follow through with consistency.
One: Have a Pre-Determined Plan
Greg and I first reflected on the elaborate birthday parties we’ve seen parents go in debt for. As a disclaimer, we are all for celebrating! And for those who have the resources and the means to celebrate elaborately, go for it! But for many families starting out, the budget doesn’t include thousands of dollars to spare.
The birthday parties we hosted for our sons consisted of mostly activity. Although, when they were very young, like turning one, it was a smaller affair with family and some sort of cake that would end up smeared all over our sons faces. Events we hosted with hot dogs, piñata in the park and craft tables have in the ensuing years turned in to all-out bouncy-house events with clowns and ponies. We hope there are some good photos as a one-year old will in all probability not remember the catered food. And don’t you love it when they play more with the cardboard boxes from the gifts than the actual gift?
This readily applies to work and career situations. A lack of communication along with the lack of a crafted plan is the downfall of most. Entrepreneurs, especially, face this with subscribing to software they don’t need and buy equipment they’ll never use. A pre-determined plan will help combat what you may not want to do in the first place. This can even apply to physical health. How often do we overeat and drink just to fit in and socialize? There are always choices.
Two: Implement Your Plan with Confidence
Confidence is often the result of courageous action. Let’s go back to the subject of raising kids as it’s easy to draw comparisons to us as adults. Today, there are many who have made the choice to home school with some of the challenges parents are facing with our educational system. Unfortunately, there are those who have looked down on this system of educating kids, but the statistics are impressive.
First of all, I realize homeschooling is not for everyone, especially for those not able to devote the kind of time necessary for their kids education. But statistics show that 67% homeschoolers complete their graduation compared to 59% public school students. Their average test scores are in the 87th percentile. These numbers are merely to demonstrate how data and statistics can help build courageous action and ultimately, confidence.
Compiling research and thinking through different scenarios and options is extremely valuable in building a case for courageous action. Taking the time to define and reflect on your core values will give you a huge boost in this area. Sticking with your values will help you implement your plan with confidence when you are tempted to work too many hours, spend more than you can afford or even take your business in a direction that doesn’t feel right.But plans can also change. In fact, sometimes they need to change. Helmuth von Moltke (1800-1891), Prussian field marshal said, No plan of operations extends with any certainty beyond the first contact with the main hostile force. British author James Dover Grant (known as Lee Child) of Jack Reacher novels said, Plans go to hell as soon as the first shot is fired. So as plans change, move ahead once more with confidence
Three: Follow Through with Consistency
Follow through is tough. How often have you planned to get up and exercise, then the moment the alarm goes off, threw your plans away? In fact, you might have even thrown your alarm away! In reading Undaunted Courage (Stephen E. Ambrose) detailing the specifics of the Lewis and Clark journey across the American west, I am impressed with their consistency. (map pictured is Land of Allure from The Summit book)
Lewis had to create a detailed plan for travel, not owning any of the tools we have today such as a timepiece or compass and they were going into uncharted territory. The amount of courage they demonstrated was extraordinary, but they moved forward with confidence as they were steadfast in their values, often dealing with combative Indian tribes. One of their non-negotiables was their follow-through on punishment. If a night guard fell asleep at his post, this was punishable by death as their whole troupe could have been killed while sleeping.
Even though they revised the punishment to consist of multiple lashes to the back of the soldier, usually 50 to 100, it was still very effective. The follow through was a consequence severe enough to keep others from doing the same without losing a valuable member needed for the expedition.
At a conference I recently attended, I ran into a person I had spoken with the previous year. His daughter who was ten, was struggling to play the violin. She didn’t like it at all. I suggested piano, as she was the perfect age to begin. Their overall plan had been to include music as part of their daughter’s education, which is a wonderful addition and I speak about the benefits of music in my book, Music for Kids.
He made the adjustment, purchasing a keyboard. He is still keeping the main goal of adding music, but his daughter is now loving the piano. This is a great example of keeping an overall plan but having the flexibility to change the vehicle to fulfill that plan. As an instructor for many years, I know that 1% of 1% are able to make music as their career. But 100% can enjoy adding music to their life, especially with online courses so readily available.
The big takeaway in all this is that our plans don’t need to look like anyone else’s. Common sense, a strong sense of our values both personally and professionally and the commitment to follow through will help us manage expectations of any peer pressure we may feel.
Confidence is often the result of courageous action.
Thought Leader, Keynote Speaker, Author
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