People pleasing has a bad reputation. It seems when things go wrong we easily blame it for lost direction. But is it so wrong?
Every entertainer does it. Every entrepreneur thrives on it. Every athlete can’t pay their bills unless they do it. A surgeon would end in jail if they didn’t do it and a therapist would go broke without it. Giving people what they want, people pleasing is, without doubt, the secret of most success. if the crowd doesn’t clap, don’t blame them … and same goes for lovers. If your partner isn’t groaning with delight after sex with you it might be time to start thinking about a different future.
So why the bad rap?
It’s simple – those who do it professionally earn a living from it, and those who do it personally, get what they most value in return…
Start simple: a lover might spend a few hours giving pleasure to their partner and enjoy giving it, but what they may want in return is commitment or safety in being vulnerable or even a good parent for the kids. And while that exchange is working, nobody complains. However, sometimes it all goes wrong. The lover may give pleasure but their partner might really want love, and so the giving is not received and the return is not made. Here’s where I hear broken hearted people say “I have everything and got nothing in return.”
That’s never true. But sometimes the return one gets from pleasing people is not what we want in the way we want. Hence, people pleasing gets a bad rap.
A disgruntled leader or sports person might give everything in a race but not win, or they might give everything in training and racing but not get the financial or emotional reward they wanted the way they expected it. Again, people pleasing gets a bad rap and the whole, race for yourself ignorance is sold as sport psychology. It never works.
In business or relationship when we give people pleasing a bad rap, we cause ourselves enormous stress. We become self-obsessed, living a nightmare in our own head, fighting for our own approval, struggling with self-doubt and rejection. In more simple words, “we set ourselves up for failure.”
This is where coaching is critical. If you are a business person giving people what they want it is good, but if you become satisfied by a thank you, while your goal is wealth creation it’s not going to last, is it?
If you are an athlete trying to make yourself famous so you get sponsored and become “Michael Jordon $bn” you better focus on pleasing people who got $bn rather than friends and family who hang up your trophies and put you on their Facebook for 19 seconds. Simply, pleasing people isn’t the issue. Deciding what you want in return and feeling worthy of it is the issue.
For the first five years of my speaking career I stated that I didn’t care what I got paid, I just cared about making people the best version of themselves. I was rewarded in keynotes around the world by seeing warm looks on people’s faces as they teared up and stood to applaud. Then one day a colleague got the same feedback from the audience, plus $100k. For an hour and I realised that I’d accepted the happy clappy payment because that’s all I felt worthy of. I was people pleasing to fill my emotional tank, while my financial tank went on empty.
I started charging $, but to do it, I had to find a replacement for that addiction I had to an audience filling me up emotionally. Masturbation didn’t work. Hahaha – So eventually I found a charity I could give to and get all the emotional satisfaction I needed plus some.
My speaking fee didn’t top $100k for the hour but close. My sense of what I was giving rose up and as it did, so did the exchange, value for value.
When moving job to job, there is a key piece of work that needs to be done before you move.
Six steps to moving jobs:
- Love you current job before you leave it or else you’ll simply run into it in the next. We call this step “Luckyfkr”
- Become “pluckable” – to be pluck-worthy you need to be doing so well that another firm wants to steal you and your current firm doesn’t want you to go.
- Know what you are world champion at; “if it’s peeling vegetables, which ones, in what setting, with what measure of good?” You need to narrow down your mastery until you are the absolutely best “small, organic, carrot peeling, waste preventing, open air five star restaurant, breakfast vegetable peeler in the world.
- Know it’s currency. So someone wants what you do and you need to decide what currency you want for doing it. Do you want security? That discounts $ pay. Do you want friendly, non sexist, non competitive work place? That can cost more $. Bit by bit you work out what you want for a job and what $you are willing to pay for it.
- Act like you already got that job. No use dressing, talking acting like a B grade athlete when your goal is the big league.
- Don’t infatuate job offers. Better to keep your old job happily pacing yourself and learning new self awareness and therefore other awareness skills while you shop for a new job. Nobody likes a desperate shopper.
So I hope you and all you know continue to be a people pleasing slippery worm and get what you want in return or simply stop doing it.