Are you a people pleaser? Or are you a recovering people pleaser?
One of the most important realisations we can come to is that we are not responsible for pleasing others. As we’re all different, it is okay to accept that no matter what we do or hard we try, we will not please everyone.
When referring to the habit of pleasing others, I do not mean not being supportive or not being there for someone who wants our help. This is about being aware of our needs and ensuring that we give as much attention to what’s important to us as well as fulfilling any obligations we have.
Being in the habit of pleasing others can become unhealthy in situations like:
- Saying “yes” to someone even though we really don’t want to, just so we can keep them happy.
- Not being willing to renegotiate a commitment we’ve made that is no longer serving us.
- Constantly attending to the needs of others at the expense of our health and well-being.
- Having said “no” initially to a request only to be made to feel guilty about it and we end up saying “yes” reluctantly.
It is becoming more and more common to hear people say they’re so busy and they don’t have the time to do things they know they should.
Being busy is like a badge of honour. We’ve programmed ourselves to say were busy just so we can justify to others and ourselves as to why we are not doing some of the things we know we should.
Oftentimes, some of the most important things in life do not require a lot of time but because we’re in a busy mindset, we fail to give them the attention they deserve. Not surprisingly, the most important things in life are often the smallest or simplest things we do everyday.
If we can adopt the mindset that some of our highest priorities does not require a lot of time, we will quickly start noticing a big difference to:
- Our attitude — we won’t feel overwhelmed and under pressure all the time.
- Our mood — we will be a lot more pleasant to be around.
- Our effectiveness — we will be able to focus better because we’ve addressed things that are important to us.
Knowing we are making progress by taking care of important tasks can generate more optimism and lead to positive expectations.
It is quite common for us to experience feelings of doubt and worry when there is a change in our current reality or when we are going for something new in life.
Just think back to that last time you worried about something or when you had doubts about creating an outcome you wanted — what do you think caused you to be worried or start doubting yourself?
First, let’s define what they are.
What is Doubt?
Doubt is a feeling of uncertainty, a lack on conviction or belief that we will achieve the outcome we want. Doubt is an imagined reality. While it is quite normal to experience doubt from time to time, if it is not addressed quickly, it can cause some serious problems.
What is Worry?
Similar to doubt, worry can be defined as negative thoughts or feelings which arise in response to either a real problem or an imagined problem. It has often been said that worry is negative goal setting.
If we think of anything that is bothering us at this present moment, it can often be defined as worry because we’re imagining a reality that is causing is to generate negative thoughts or emotions.
Everyone has dreams. Some of our dreams may involve changing how people live their lives, like a Steve Jobs, while others may have dreams to go on a particular vacation, buy a new house or own a new car.
While one dream may not be better or more important than another, we should all have dreams so that we have meaning and purpose behind the things we do.
When I first started learning from trainers and professional speakers in the personal development industry, I thought it would be nice to be able to speak to an audience of 1,000 or more people. At that time, it was just a dream. The largest audience I had spoken in front of at that time was around 50 people, so setting an intention to speak in front of 1,000 or more people was a major stretch.
I remember at a seminar a few months later, that had close to 2,000 people in the audience, I stood up and answered a question the presenter had asked the audience. While technically I spoke to more than 1,000 people, in my mind that didn’t count because I wanted to speak in “front” of an audience of that size.
Interestingly enough, I actually forgot about that dream and nothing happened for a few years.
As I reflect back on my past decade and a half, I’m amazed that I have made some significant changes to my life — some which caused me a lot of pain, and some which have worked out quite well.
When I was in high school, one thing that had been programmed into me was that in order to have a good life, I needed to have a good education, which in turn, would help me get a good job.
I enrolled into an engineering course at a university, not really knowing why I wanted to do it, apart from the belief that it would lead to a secure career and financial security. The fact that I hated almost everything about my engineering course should have been a strong clue that I was not doing the right thing.
However, at that time, I did not know any better. I did not have enough life experience, nor did I have the right mentors around me who could offer different perspectives.
The Cost Of Staying On The Wrong Path
When I had started working, it was painfully obvious that I was not happy and I felt trapped. I did not know where to start in order to feel good about myself and what I was doing. At that time, the internet was still in its infancy and was nothing like it is today so being able to go online to do reattach was not in my awareness.
There is always a price to pay and a cost for making wrong choices in life. For me, these included:
- Not being myself.
- Masking how I was feeling and what was really going on for me.
- Taking out my frustrations on others, especially at work.
- Keeping myself isolated because I didn’t have a lot of self-confidence.
- Becoming more and more unhappy.
It is not uncommon for people to chase lofty goals in order to make their lives better.
While it is true that progress and personal achievement can equate to a better quality life, often, it’s the small changes we make daily that results in dramatic shifts in our lives.
As we all want the same things such as more joy, more happiness, better relationships, more comfort, new experiences or a better lifestyle, we have different ways of pursuing these. Interestingly, most times, the things we want to experience in our lives can be acquired easily without the need for all the effort we put ourselves through daily.
By installing daily practices, we can easily improve the quality of our lives, which will lead to more joy, more happiness, better relationships, more comfort, and new experiences.
It is always reassuring to know we are moving in the right direction in life. We do things because we want to move forward and improve our lives in some way.
As human beings, we are programmed for growth. We are always seeking more — more happiness, more love, more fun, more connections, more success, and ultimately, more life.
When we are not moving in the right direction, we:
- Don’t take care of ourselves as well as we know we should.
- Feel lost and lonely on the inside.
- Struggle with motivation and getting things done.
- Find it harder to be ourselves when interacting with others.
- Start to lose self-belief and self-confidence.
Knowing we are moving in the right direction can make a big difference in what we do and how we do it.
One thing that drives all of us is our desire to be happy in life. We all have different ways we pursue happiness.
Some of the ways people pursue happiness include:
- Achieving more in life, whether it is financial or material success.
- Making a contribution, which can include volunteer or charity work.
- Developing stronger relationships with others.
- Seeking new experiences like travelling or learning new things.
- Following their passions in life.
Even though the pursuit of happiness is one of our core drivers in life, why is it that so many people are unhappy?
It is not uncommon when we speak to people and ask how they are, we will hear responses like, “Fine” or “Not too bad.” Those responses often mask what is really going on for people, and if they were being truly honest with themselves, they will admit that some area of their lives are not going well, which may be causing them to feel unhappy.
It could well be that there may be things they are doing or things going on for them that are preventing them from experiencing happiness on a consistent basis.
During the recent Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil, we witnessed the best athletes in the world performing at the highest levels in order to win medals for their countries. One thing we have come to expect in sports is for athletes or teams to have coaches.
Sometimes, teams have multiple coaches, with each one focusing on a specific area of performance. While it is accepted that those who play sports will work with coaches in order to improve and go to the next level of performance and achievement, it is not as widely accepted for normal, everyday people to have coaches.
Coaches can be just as valuable to individuals as they are to athletes or other professionals. Now, the question to ask is: Do you have a coach in your life?
Chances are those who do not have coaches are not fully utilising their skills, abilities and talents. In other words, they may not be harnessing their full potential.
Some of the things coaches do for their clients include:
- Make it safe for them to express what is really going on for them.
- Challenge them to increase what they expect from themselves.
- Identify gaps between where they are and where they want to eventually be.
One thing we always have to be mindful of is our attitude at any given moment. Our attitude largely determines what we experience and the type of results we create in life.
The people we surround ourselves with have a huge influence on our attitude. If we’re usually around upbeat and positive people, then we will predominantly have a positive attitude. However, if we’re around negative people a lot, then they will affect how we think, our emotional state and how we behave.
Negative people can cause us to be pessimistic and not have a healthy outlook on life. If we don’t protect ourselves from negative influences, it can lead to serious consequences such as:
- Frustration when things don’t go our way.
- Complaining, whining and blaming others regularly.
- Reduced motivation to do our best.
- Lack of positive expectancy for the future.
- Slow progress towards what we want in life.
It is our responsibility to protect ourselves and avoid being affected by negative people.