Stop People Pleasing: 3 Ways to Start Leading Like a Badass


What does it mean to be a People Pleaser? Well, as a recovering People Pleaser myself, I can tell you. People Pleasers have an almost insatiable need to be liked by everyone. If you are a People Pleaser, you might say "yes" to too many things, whether it be at work or in your personal life. You tend to not speak-up in meetings because you are afraid that your idea will be dismissed and then your team will make judgments about you. People Pleasers can be agreeable to a fault, not actually expressing their true opinions and instead adopting the popular opinions for the sake of not disrupting the status quo. So, how do People Pleasers end up feeling? If you are a People Pleaser, you might experience stress because you commit to too much. You likely feel anxious because you experience an inner conflict when your actions or lack of action goes against your authentic self. This stress and anxiety from people pleasing causes your self-confidence to suffer because you operate from a disempowered place. You may stay small because you do not have the courage to take risks, go hard after that promotion, increase your visibility, or unleash your full badass leadership capability. Sound familiar? Yup, I thought so.

What can you do to squash the People Pleaser inside of you to be a better more badass version of yourself?

1. Be True to Yourself and Your Own Needs. Think of squashing your inner People Pleaser as a way to be truer to yourself and your own needs, which will in-turn make you a better partner, mother, friend, and leader. By being truer to who you really are, you will actually be putting those closest to you first, whether that be your team or family.

2. Awareness. When I find myself relapsing into people pleasing mode, I feel a rush of anxiety in my chest. Figure out how to monitor when a people pleasing relapse is coming-on. Perhaps you revert to people pleasing mode when you feel like you are about to disappoint someone. Count how many times you people please in a day. You will be astounded at how many times you do this. Awareness is the first step in getting rid of your inner People Pleaser.

3. Action. Next, figure out how you can take clear actions to work towards being truer to yourself. Here are some actions to try:

Disappoint someone every day. A Google executive once told me that when she was trying to stop being a People Pleaser, she started making a point to disappoint someone every day. So, I tell my clients, "Go out and disappoint someone today." Tell your waiter how you really feel about the food, cancel plans with a friend because you are actually too busy, tell your family you aren't coming home for the holidays because it's just too much, or say "no" to an additional project at work because it will mean more time away from your family. Find someone you can play this game with -- your mother, sister, or a friend.

Stop apologizing. People pleasing comes with lots of "so sorry, but's" especially when you are in the process of taking actions to stop people pleasing. Do not say "sorry" to anyone unless you truly need to ask for forgiveness.

Practice saying "no." People Pleasers can be so darn agreeable and say "yes" to everything. Say "no" three times to requests each day and it doesn't count if you tell your toddler "no." This can be as simple as telling the telemarketer, "No, I cannot speak to you right now." And, don't you dare apologize to the caller. That cancels out the value of stating a firm "no." Decline or cancel 1 invitation this month that is causing you stress or anxiety and do not apologize for it.

People Pleasers are often referred to "nice" which means most of us are also recovering "nice girls." I used to be flattered when people would refer to me as "nice." Now I find it insulting. While I of course strive to treat those I encounter in the world with kindness, nice is soooo borrrrring. I'd much rather be thought of as assertive, a go-getter, ambitious, a woman who knows what she wants, a badass or even something less flattering because at least that's wayyyyy more interesting and productive than "nice."

To learn more about the author, Dr. Adrienne Partridge, please visit: