People pleasing. It’s a trap, but one you can avoid. If you are unfamiliar with the term, or suspicious it may apply to you, here’s a checklist to help you work it out:
- The word ‘no’ never comes out of your mouth.
- You go above and beyond to impress people, even when it is inconvenient or uncomfortable.
- You struggle to receive criticism and say sorry when something isn’t your fault.
- You feel devastated when you suspect someone doesn’t like you.
- You hate conflict or uncertainty in all of your relationships.
People pleasing is a common issue. Many of us, perhaps especially women, live with a deep-seated fear of disappointing those around us. This can have a devastating impact on our personal lives.
People pleasers often end up discontent and anxious in relationships, constantly striving for approval and reassurance, whilst at the same time often neglecting their own goals and priorities.
Unsurprisingly, this behaviour is also toxic in the business world. People pleasing and business don’t mix well.
So, how can you prevent the need to please from affecting your business? Here are three catchphrases to live by.
‘I provide quality goods and services’
The key to avoiding people pleasing is to be confident in yourself and what you have to offer.
If you don’t believe in yourself and your business, you will agree to unreasonable requests. And people will also cross boundaries and try and squeeze you until you crack on pricing.
However, if you are confident in the quality of your offering, you can stand your ground. Whenever you feel tempted to wave the white flag and surrender to a pushy client, think ‘I provide quality goods or services’.
Also, ask yourself whether you want someone like that as a client. Often saying no will make them respect you more.
‘I will be kind to people but maintain my boundaries’
People pleasers are constantly worried about what others think. This worry builds up and leads you to make unwise decisions.
You say ‘yes’ when you should say ‘no’. You offer too much. You work too late. You respond to demands too easily.
Instead, focus on kindness, not reputation. You can only be responsible for how you act, not what others think – and saying no doesn’t make you a bad person.
‘Who do I want to work with?’
It can be scary to stand up for ourselves. If we push back, a client might leave.
Here’s something to remember: if someone refuses to treat you with respect, you probably don’t want them in your life.
When a client walks away because you stand your ground, you’re not losing out.
Rather, you are protecting your business reputation from someone who doesn’t see your value.
Next time you’re in a difficult conversation and you feel tempted to bend your own rules, ask yourself: ‘Is this who I want to work with?’. If not, don’t be afraid to see them walk away.
People pleasing is a lifelong struggle for many of us. But real progress can be made.
Healthy relational behaviour is imperative for sustainable and successful business management. You can stop people pleasing. Remember your worth and stand your ground.