Episode 38: How to Reduce People Pleasing

Welcome, welcome to today’s episode of The Work Of Becoming podcast. We are gonna talk today about people pleasing. So, I‘ll be honest, I’ve never really identified as much of a people pleaser. That’s not a term that I was strongly like, “Oh, yes, I’m a people pleaser,” but recently (I would say in the past three months), I have noticed that maybe I’m more of a people pleaser than I was giving myself credit for. And it wasn’t actually me who noticed this; it was the coach that I’m working with.

So I’m working with a coach right now, and one of the benefits of coaching is that someone outside of you, who is objective, is looking at your behavior, and because that person is objective, they’re able to see your behavior, your patterns, your tendencies with so much more clarity, and then when they point it out to you, it’s like it becomes visible to you for the very first time, and it makes it a lot easier to start to remedy it because all of a sudden you’re seeing it.

So, my coach recently asked me to outsource a particular task to someone on my team, and I was hesitant to do it, and I was hesitant to do it because I was telling myself: “Well, this task is so boring, and I don’t want to give X person a boring task because then they’ll be bored.”

My coach kind of stepped in and called me out on it a little bit and said: “First of all, Karin, you don’t know that they’re gonna think that’s boring. That’s your judgment, your perception of the situation. But second of all, this is a people-pleasing tendency.”

And what she challenged me to do in that moment is — I want to say she looked at me in the eye. She didn’t, but it felt like that over Voxer. She said to me, and I quote: “Karin, I want you to hold the standard of what you actually want without settling.”

I know for a lot of you who are out there who are listening to this, that sounds really challenging. The thought of figuring out exactly what you want and holding that standard without settling, holding that standard without changing and evolving and toning yourself down for other people, that sounds really impossible.

The tip I want to give you today in this podcast is that you don’t have to go from people-pleasing tendencies all the way to holding yourself to exactly what you want without settling. That is an immense journey. That is a journey that I’ve seen clients go through over six or nine months with us in Alliance Coaching, but maybe the first step is to simply identify, mentally, what you want in any given circumstance.

So, for example, let’s say that you and your partner are (classic couple dilemma) deciding on what to eat, and let’s say you’re a people pleaser, and so, you always want to know what they want to eat so that you can pick the thing that’s gonna make them happy. What if, instead, in that moment you took a second to mentally identify for yourself if this was completely my choice, if my partner wasn’t here, what would I order in this moment? What do I actually want?

At the beginning, you don’t have to say that out loud. You don’t have to tell your partner. You don’t have to go for that option. You don’t have to do the entire enactment. But what I want you to do is I want you to start off with that baby step of identifying what you actually want. This is really, really, really important, particularly in the month of December, and here’s why.

When we are going to set goals for the new year, like I said, we tend to be influenced by what everyone around us wants us to think, who everyone around us wants us to be. And so, even from the microscopic to the major, I challenge you in the month of December to practice identifying what it is that you desire, practice identifying what it is that you’re craving. At first, this voice might be really quiet. It might be almost silent. It might feel like you don’t actually know what you want, but the more you ask yourself that question, the more you tap in and say: “All right, self, what do I want?” and the more you give yourself time and listen for the answer, you’re gonna build that skill of identifying your desires. And then, eventually, you’re gonna be able to take action on those desires when you want to.

And, yes, absolutely, you’re gonna compromise sometimes. You’re gonna do things for other people because you love them. All of that is okay, but I promise you that behavior change and, particularly motivation, is gonna be much easier to motivate yourself to get those habits done and make choices that support yourself throughout the day and do the things you want to do if you have identified or if you have learned to listen in, tap into that voice inside of you that’s saying what you really want for your life and then take action upon that.

People pleasing is stopping you from becoming the person that I think you really want to be. And so, take some time in the month of December to tap in. That’s what I’ve got for you today.

I will see you in the next episode!


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Hi, I'm Karin

I’m a funfetti flavor super-fan, a loving dog mom, a PhD expert in mindset and behavior change… and I’m here to help make personal development and transformation a process that’s actually fun.


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