The Cost of Pleasing Everyone

A very smart 11 year old girl shared some sage wisdom with her father last night, “I can’t tell you what success is, but I can tell you that failure is trying to please everyone”. So right she is. I see it in every workshop I teach in every country I visit; the desire to please everyone is a root case of life imbalance in and outside of the workplace.

We all do it, at least once in a while, agree to do something we don’t want to do or have no intention of following through on. Some of us do it more than others and the reason isn’t because there is anything wrong with that person or the way they think or function in the world, it’s actually comes from a place of good intention.

People try to please everyone because it’s our nature to please others, when the tribe is happy and at ease we are safe. Not to mention I have yet to meet a person who enjoys disappointing someone. We all want to be liked, more than that we want to be accepted and loved for what we believe in. It’s an emotional risk to say no to others. They might reject us, get mad at us or not support what we believe in. So it makes sense that we say yes sometimes to prevent rejection or an argument.

The thing to consider is, each yes you give to someone else that you don’t truly support or feel good about, is a no, a rejection to yourself. There is a fine line between an authentic yes to someone else and an authentic yes to your own needs. The magic is that the people in your life who truly support you will understand the difference and will be completely at ease with your no’s.

Ask yourself, would you rather be loved by a few people who really support what’s important to you or by many who don’t really know what you stand for?


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