Why You Should Stop Being a People-Pleaser



Are you a People-Pleaser?

Have you ever found yourself running from crisis to crisis, meeting to meeting, allowing people to pull you in different directions, none of them appealing, all of them time-consuming? Not wanting to let anyone down, you extend yourself beyond the boundaries of your own wellbeing to help, please, rescue, or flatter others.


The support you extend to others comes at the expense of expressing your own needs, making you feel resentful at being taken for granted. Your biggest fear is that you will drive other people away if you express your own needs openly and directly.


Why People-Pleasing is Bad

It's easy to berate yourself for supporting others when saying no would have been the stronger choice. Offering to read a 73-slide PowerPoint deck for a colleague led to my client giving away precious time and energy because they wanted to please a colleague and prove themself a thought leader. But seeking to please others is a distraction from staying focused on who and what is truly important and deserving of your time.


When you are asked to step up your game professionally, it’s common to want to prove yourself using the skills that made you successful, to begin with. My client saw, in hindsight, that reading a colleague's PowerPoint to prove a point wasn’t the best choice when they were assuming a new role inside the company and were feeling overwhelmed by the scale of the projects they led.


Every successful person has come to the realization that you can’t make everyone happy all the time. Pleasing others with the belief that it will ‘win’ you recognition is how you respond when you want to stay safe and play small.


The gains of making yourself available to everyone and becoming caught in the drama of work are very small. What you hope to receive in recognition turns ugly and the demands on your time more outrageous as you are seen as a target for others to get their own needs met.


What’s on the Other Side of People-Pleasing?

As soon as you take your personal identity out of the equation and value yourself as the precious jewel you are, big progress can begin.


What’s on the other side of moving away from putting others' needs ahead of your own? You begin to see that you are already enough.


Instead of attempting to please everyone and give away your time and energy, you learn how to cultivate your personal energy with self-care and monitor its supply to the demands placed on it, like you were an oasis in the desert.


You accurately gauge who and what is worthy of your talents, because you filter the demands put upon you. That filter is made up of your core values, leadership strengths, and personal beliefs for what is right for you, not someone or something else.


Have you been relying on ways of doing your job or leading your life that are no longer working for you?


People only change when a disaster occurs, or a leader shows up to guide them on a new path. What if you got angry enough with yourself for trading your power for recognition by pleasing others and decided to do something about it?


When you work with me as your coach you’ll learn:

  • What work could be like when it isn't driven by duty and obligation.

  • What life is like when you no longer have to cater to the feeling of needing to be controlled by others anymore.

  • What it's like when work stops being personal, you don’t have to take sides, and the drama goes away.

  • How much more effective you can be as a leader when you don’t have to pile on your expert opinion in every situation, and instead, show up in a new way that will elevate the group's thinking.

Escaping and/or avoiding the inner work of growing healthy self-acceptance and self-authority is part of the breakdown process that happens before a breakthrough can happen.


It’s an OK space to be in, pleasing others for recognition, ONLY IF you recognize it for what it is and don’t get stuck there.


Photo by Tim Gouw for Unsplash