Confessions of a Recovering People-Pleaser

“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

The all-accessible smart phone catering to our most notorious habit of people-pleasing.

That will be me! I have been a recovering people-pleaser for the last ten years. When I finally crossed the line towards the 3rd decade of my life, I quickly realized that our life’s journey is riddled with indecisions, second-guessing, or “analysis paralysis” (when we end up doing nothing even after much research on the issue)because we were waiting for the ultimate validation from others.

When we fail to recognize our behaviors that make us less mindful of our own existence that we wander to a path that makes us feel depleted and empty; the very same path that brings defeat, resentment, and loneliness.

A flash of “A-ha “ moment came about when my dear friend shared, “My friend told me the other day that whatever she posts on social media is not really her.”

When I opened up the doors of the preschool business I built in 2013, I learned to compartmentalize my personal, social and business existence. It was not an easy lesson to learn. I made early mistakes, quick enough for me to grasp that I must compartmentalize to protect myself.

It drove me B-A-N-A-N-A-S to be the face of the business. I became too concerned of what others will think or even say either directly to me or behind my back. I tried making others happy as my main priority, “ME” became obsolete from my vocabulary--from my own family, our clients and our employees. You see, as an entrepreneur, your first challenge is to have clients and to keep these clients. You will do everything to make sure that you have a continuous stream of clients, cash flow is KING. By doing so, it will eat up a lot of your time if you are not watching closely. Sometimes, this is the crack for others to abuse your generosity and kindness.

Then, the very people you wanted to be with more (your hubby, kids)…are asking you to have more time with them while having an internal conversation in your head, “I am doing this for them, don’t they understand?”

Our personal social media posts (unknowing to us) have become more directed to prospective clients…most times, family and friends will “unfollow” or worse “unfriend” us because our posts have become “too salesy” or perhaps because of our enthusiasm of what we do as entrepreneurs that we become “too inspirational.” Some may even say…”You are too positive” or “You have changed.”

Social media is not just our platform of keeping tabs with family and friends, as repository of precious photos of good times, or as our news reel for current events. It has evolved into the meeting point of our personal and business lives as well. It is social media after all, right? SOCIAL. Know how to leverage technology and media effectively, make it work for you not the other way around.

While social media is a sharing platform, just like the label warning: Take in moderation. Ask yourself why you are posting that particular thought or photo. Have you noticed yourself saying, let me take a photo of that, that will be good on FB or Instagram TOO OFTEN? Do you answer to messages right away? Are people reaching out to you in several platforms — messenger, text, WhatsApp, Viber, Line, etc? We have forgotten to immerse ourselves of being “in the moment.” Sometimes we miss those precious split second events because we were too engrossed looking down at our phones. Limit yourself from contracting the F.O.M.O. (Fear Of Missing Out) virus.

SILENCE your mind, SILENCE the social media white noise and tune in to your own voice. If you are in business, not everyone is your client. Make real connections and meaningful conversations not just for the sake of F.O.R.M. (family, occupation, recreation, and marriage),a cold market prospecting technique common to network marketing. Instead, work your way to becoming a trusted advisor *(another friend of mine taught me this terminology, thank you M!), your authenticity will shine and you will never feel icky,slimy salesy ever again!

No matter if you have bent over backwards to accommodate a particular client, most times, your good deed is unappreciated. So, make sure to set boundaries early. Exceptions could be made, for the most special case. Your real clients are the ones who understand the true value you have provided to them. Same is true with family. Love is a two-way street. People will respect you if you respect your self first.

Take it from the inflight announcement regarding oxygen masks “put on your own mask before helping putting on a mask for others.” Protect your time to focus on YOU and don’t forget to say NO when in doubt or whenever you have the slightest hesitation. Do YOU and only YOU. Put on your flashy baubles, dance to your own rhythm, and sing to your heart’s content.

* The words “trusted advisor” mean that you have business acumen. It means that you have the experience, the training, the knowledge, and the subject matter expertise to be trusted to advise your clients well. (from the salesblog.com).