When People Pleasing is Bad for Business

Can your desire to make people happy hurt your business?

Hell Yhea!

The other day I was chatting with a fabulous lady who is excellent at what she does. There’s no question about her mad creative skills and ability to make things happen.  She always has a steady stream of customers BUT, she is struggling to pay her bills and finds herself wasting her time doing stuff she really doesn’t want to do.

What’s up with that?

The problem is that she’s a self-admitted people pleaser. She wants to be nice, maintain a pleasant relationship and always goes the extra mile to keep her clients happy.

What’s wrong with that? It sounds like a good customer service.  

It’s good customer service up to a point, but once it spills over into not wanting to say anything to the client that consistently pays their bill late, or agreeing to do things you really don’t want to do anymore because you don’t want to upset anyone- then it becomes a problem. You end up struggling to pay your bills, working for free and not having time to do the work you want to do. Sure your client is happy but you’re not.

How many of you are in the same boat?

After a brief conversation, it became clear that there were two things going on.

One- she wanted people to like her.

Two- she hated any type of confrontation. It made her really uncomfortable and she avoided it at all costs.

Do these feel familiar to you?

It is easier for her to “be nice” and “understanding” rather than require that people pay her on time and say “no” to work she is no longer interested in doing. But it isn’t REALLY easier because then she can’t pay her bills and she is spending her time doing stuff she doesn’t want to do, which leads to feeling resentful and being passive aggressive.

So what is the solution?

I have a two part answer to this.  First, get clear on your boundaries, policies and procedures in your biz and make sure they are clearly stated. Be sure to show them to your clients right up front so everyone is on the same page. Then if something comes up you can refer them to the policies.

The second part of this is a bit harder and you need to handle it before you can effectively establish your boundaries- stop worrying about what other people think about you. Seriously! It is something you have no control over. What you do have control over is how you feel about yourself!

Learn to love and trust yourself. All of you. When you love and trust yourself it is easier to set your boundaries and keep them. When you are focused on pleasing everyone else, you are the one trampling all over you own boundaries. You push your own desires, happiness and self-interest to the back and make other people’s happiness more important than your own.  It’s not a good way to live or do business.

A word about hating confrontation- you hate it because it feels uncomfortable- but there is something else happening too. The possibility of people being mad at you and not liking you triggers all your own self-loathing and not-enough-ness. You are afraid of what you think those uncomfortable feelings say about you- that your difficult, too much, not enough, not worth it, there is something wrong with you, or whatever-your-stuff-is. These thoughts are all an illusion! It is possible to re-write them to be loving and supportive. (That’s something for another post.)

An easy thing you can do to amp up the self-acceptance and love is to find three things that you appreciate about yourself everyday and write them down. Include what you’re good at in your business and your personal life. This will help shift your energy and the energy that you attract into your world.

Where do you find yourself putting other people’s happiness before your own?

How does it impact your business?



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