People pleasing is a disease. Click To Tweet

I’ve suffered from this my entire life. The desire to make anyone and everyone happy. Whether that is in my personal life or business life, I’ve gotten myself in a lot of trouble because I want to make those around me happy. Today I was able to have a much-needed come to Jesus moment with a few close friends and with myself. This brings me to the deeper question of what it really means to say “no.” I’m horrible at this. However, what makes a good leader and an even better boss is being able to say no. I did some soul searching and wrote down a few things I observed about saying no and how I can be better at setting personal and professional boundaries.

  • A question is simply a question, not an obligation.
    • Just because someone, maybe someone of significant importance to you, presents a question; doesn’t mean you are obligated to say yes. Saying no even when it’s uncomfortable shows that you’re taking steps to create boundaries.
  • It’s not personal. 
    • So many times I think that if I say no to someone they are going to take it personally. No doesn’t mean you’re saying no to the person. You’re simply saying no to the situation.
  • People Pleasing sets unrealistic expectations.
    • If you’re in a situation where you’re always the “yes man” this creates a cycle of unrealistic expectations not only in your business life but personal life as well. Add money into the mix of this one and you’re destined for a horrible meltdown at some point.
  • People Pleasing will take you down.
    • Let me balance this by saying, people pleasing isn’t hospitality. It’s the abnormal desire to always say yes, always be available, and always be the one to turn to – but none of this in a good way. Over time people pleasing creates passive aggressive tendencies, reduces the ability to enjoy people and activities, and lastly creates burnout. I realized in most of my people pleasing that I was forgetting about the most important person, and that’s myself.

Taking care of yourself is essential. In your personal life and business life, people are expecting you to be the best you there is. It’s hard to take care of yourself if you’re always on for other people. So how do you combat this? I’ve taken a few steps this year to get my people pleasing under control. Here are a few things I’m doing that might help:

  • Turn everything off.
    • I’ve started segmenting my time. At the office my phone and all social media stays off for a period of time, then once I complete x, y, z, I take a break. The most important example of this is my mornings. I like having time to myself in the morning. This means I’ve had to get up earlier and I don’t even look at my phone until about 8A each morning. By waking up around 6A(ish) this gives me a solid two hours to read, reflect, and invest in myself before I start the day.
  • Email isn’t everything. Communication is. 
    • If you’re like me and work in an environment that requires constant communication, it can be hard to not instantly respond. I’ve found that making you schedule clear to your friends and clients is essential. For example, I’ve started a series of “days” at the office. Design days, communication days, fun days, etc… If we’re having a design day, I’ll simply post an away message on my email informing everyone what’s going on. It’s simple. Clearer communication.
  • Forget social media.
    • My life and about half my income is dedicated to social media, so it’s impossible to actually forget. However, if you’re wanting to be productive and get things done, limiting social time is essential. Social media creates fragment in our leisure/productive balance. I was getting to the point where I’d check twitter while I waited for a browser to load, next thing you know, 10 minutes later, I finally managed to get back on task. These fragments add up and you’re ability to achieve deep work dwindles.

Wishing everyone a Happy Monday! Thanks for following along on this journey to be come more productive and produce more work that matters.