Leading Edge: Limitless Transformation – Overcoming People Pleasing

Limitless Transformation from Aegis Learning and Tim Schneider

To move past people pleasing and over-accommodating, begin using the following tactics:

1. Buy Yourself Some Time
Because your automatic answer is always a yes, learn to add some time to your decisions and analyze if you can truly help or assist. Start saying something like “please let me have until the end of the day” or “I will let you know tomorrow morning” for you to be able to see if you can fit the needed time and effort into what you already have going on. You can use this time to check your calendar and task list to ensure that you truly have capacity for another project or volunteer for the event.

2. Use a No Substitute
You struggle with saying no but you can begin using some “no” substitutes. No lite, if you will. Try saying “I’m sorry I can’t” or “Unfortunately, I just don’t have the room for that right now” instead of a hard no. You will also want to develop a tolerance for saying no if someone continues to press or badger you for something that you just don’t have the room for in your current schedule.

3. Create and Share Boundaries
Boundaries are those self-created fences that guard you. They protect your time, emotional energy, and overall capacity for something. We all operate within the boundaries of law and ethics and personal boundaries serve to help you help yourself.

First look at the people that often take advantage of your accommodating nature. Craft a limit for talking with and interacting with them. When they hit the limit, cut off the interactions for a period.

Next create a boundary for the number of things you take on during a week or month. These can be work projects, extra tasks, home projects, or volunteer work. When you hit the limit, stop taking on anything extra until your capacity catches up.

Now the hard part about boundaries. You can set them all you want but until you share them with others, they have absolutely no impact. So yes, you must tell your boss, wife, kids, church friends, dog rescue peeps, whoever, that you have some boundaries and are not going to take on everything for everyone anymore. And be prepared to tell them why.

4. Develop Tolerance for Conflict
People pleasers and over-accommodators must develop a small tolerance level for routine conflicts. This will require that you do some self-management to understand that conflicts are not bad, conflicts do not have to be emotionally charged, and most importantly, conflict is the root of all progress and growth. Without some conflict, or disagreement, we can never innovate or produce continuous improvement. Tell yourself that conflict is not only okay, but it is highly desirable if it is managed at an issue or process level and the people in the conflict effectively manage their emotions during the conflict event.

To assist in the tolerance for conflict, note the objectives for any conflict or disagreement, set a time to discuss it, and stick to your talking points. Stay resilient and do not take the bait of a personalized or emotional response. Stick to your points and stay focused on the issue or process, not the person.

5. Limit Apologies
Apologies are an awesome display of empathy and certainly have value when you have made an error, but people pleasers lead with an apology far too often. Catch and stop yourself when you are about to apologize for bringing up an issue or expressing your needs. Similarly, do not apologize for your opinions on a subject, even if they are contrary to the opinions of others. And certainly, never apologize for needing or wanting to be heard.

6. Improve Relationship Depth
Growing your relationship depth with other people will make it significantly easier to say no or to ask for time to think about something before committing to it. As you get to know people more deeply you will feel more comfortable telling them your needs and articulating your boundaries.

7. It’s Okay to be a Little Selfish
If it’s important to you or you enjoy doing it, then do it without regard for the needs and desires of others. This will not work all the time but sometimes you need to do what is best for you and not the family, coworkers, boss, spouse, or any others. Don’t be so anxious to give away your time with friends, yoga class, or other things of personal enjoyment and make this part of your boundary set.

8. Stop Worrying About What Others Think
People pleasers often do so to curry favor with others. The people that you want in your life, personally and professionally, will like you for who you truly are and not what you do for them. The people that pretend to like you only when you do things for them are not the people you want or need in your life. Think twice, and maybe three times, about how much you worry about what others think about you and if those people really should matter to you. The loss or ill opinion of a person or two that doesn’t like you because you didn’t subordinate everything else you have going on to do their favor, is worth it compared to a healthier and happier you. Be you, boundaries and no responses included, and the right people will stick with you.

9. Challenge How You View Yourself
Closely related to worrying about what other people think about you, you need to challenge how you value yourself. Your value is not about how much you do for others and nor is it how popular you are with others. Your value is deeper than that and not about what you do but rather about who you are, your core person. You are not tick marks on a task list, you are much more than that.

People Pleasing / Over Accommodating Frequency:
Often __________
Occasionally __________
Never __________

People Pleasing / Over Accommodating Impact:
High ____________________
Moderate ____________________
Low ____________________

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