Three ways to overcome peer pressure and excel in business world

Three ways to overcome peer pressure and excel in business world

Peer pressure is a little too common for our liking. It can strike us in different ways at different times of our lives.

Each of us have experienced it at some point in our lives. Seeds of peer pressure are sown very early for most of us, be it by parents who start comparing our behaviour or performance, academic or sports with siblings or other children. At school or in college, peer pressure is considered the most dangerous because you are naïve and you can easily get influenced.

And when you think you have just outgrown peer pressure, it strikes you back, either in the form of co-workers or business rivals among others. Peer pressure can hugely influence the success or failure of one at workplace or in business.

Understanding peer pressure and standing your ground is important to turn such pressure to your advantage. When taken in the right spirit, peer pressure can help you excel at work and ultimately achieve your goals. Here are the three types of peer pressure

1. Direct peer pressure:

Have you ever been under pressure from your friend or colleague to take a particular decision or to change your decision? This may happen either when you are unable to make a decision or are just indecisive about a decision made. It is easy for friends or colleagues to influence you at this weak moment.
You may be scared or even threatened into giving in to the pressure but you shouldn’t. Don’t mistake friendly advice to peer pressure. Peer pressure holds you back, dilutes your position and gives you a sense of feeling smaller than others whereas friendly advice helps you see the merits and demerits of your action.

2. Individual peer pressure:

“The world is a dangerous place not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing”. You may subconsciously or inadvertently fall prey to this kind of pressure. It’s far more discrete and often don’t realise that its happening to you. You decide to do something because “everyone else is doing it”.
Indirect peer pressure is not always evil, it can perfectly be harmless, it can sometimes pull you into taking the right decision. The key here is to check on yourself if you are doing something that you don’t believe in or is someone influencing you against your own will.

3. Individual peer pressure:

Without realising it, you are probably inflicting peer pressure on yourself. Going by what your peers say or doing what they think is right gives you a sense of belonging. That makes you feel accepted and satisfied.
Thus, to avoid feeling isolated you succumb to peer pressure that you impose on yourself. It is said that freeing oneself from such peer pressure is incredibly difficult when it is within our nature to conform to the societal pressures.

Overcoming peer pressure

“Don’t change so people will like you. Be yourself and the right people will love the real you. It is better to walk alone than with a crowd going in the wrong direction.”

Regardless of the type of peer pressure, there are different ways to overcome it. You must stand up for yourself and take responsibility. The influence that peers can have on one another cannot be ignored. Infact it is healthy to have it in the workplace as it promotes competition, motivates performers, encourages challenges and has a strong influence on achieving results.

Dealing with peer pressure is all about establishing your own values about life and the things that are important to you and in sticking to your own principles.

1. Learn how to say no:

You can always take a stand and refuse to give in. This requires courage but standing your ground will make you feel very good about yourself. As long as you are sure about your ideas and actions, peers cannot just discourage you. Let them know that you are strong on your will and do not want to just give in. When you see positive results, you will be more confident than before.

2. Do not be judgmental:

Stop judging people by their choices and they will likely return the favour. Not being judgmental doesn’t mean you should support their actions when you don’t want to. It only means that you respect your own choices more.

3. Take a stand and make a move:

There is no need for you to surround yourself with people who undermine you. Get rid of such negativity by cutting them out of your life. When you see that your peers are always negative about what you do, you should show them the door.

It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends. Never let anyone try and make you into something that you are not. Remember what is it that you want and always stay strong in that.

Sriram is the founder and chief mentor of Kuza Biashara, a capacity building firm coaching youth and SME owners in Kenya. He chairs Entrepreneurs’ Organisation for Africa and can be reached at Twitter @Sbharatam.

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