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Don’t Allow The Desire To Please Derail Your Leadership

Written by: Maureen Chiana, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Let's start with a story about Rose. Rose is a lady who has a such great love for people. They say roses have prickles to protect themselves but this sweet lady wouldn’t hurt a fly.

Businesswoman presenting her ideas for company development to her workmate.
“I Don’t Know the Key to Success, But the Key to Failure Is Trying to Please Everybody.” ‒ Unknown

Rose worked as a supervisor in an IT company and became the go-to person for getting things done in her organization and many of her team got into the habit of going straight to Rose for help because they knew she was always so willing to help. She was loved by her colleagues and team because she was always available for everyone and wouldn’t say no to anyone’s request, even if it meant missing her son’s play at school to cover for a colleague who had got another doctor's appointment or a boss who needs to take his wife for an appointment.

She knows she should say No but just can’t bring herself to, because she feels they will be disappointed in her and she just does not like upsetting people.

She rose steadily in her career and was soon promoted to become a Project Manager in the same organization. This was a dream came through for her, and promotion well deserved.

The question, though is; Was she actually ready and equipped for this promotion?’

“Do not confuse the command to love with the disease to please.” Lysa TerKeurst

It wasn’t long before Rose began to struggle with the many responsibilities she had, the amount of work and the amount of people she was supporting. This led to her becoming resentful and unhappy with her work and her life generally.

She always felt bad after agreeing to help a colleague, considering how full her plate was already, but she just couldn’t say ‘NO’ to anyone.

Her attempts to please everyone were causing her a lot of stress, frustration and burnout but equally worse was that it was now affecting her performance, as she was missing many deadlines.

She felt nothing she was doing was good enough.

Can you relate to Rose?

Do you find it difficult to say NO?

Do you feel bad when you say NO to someone because you want to upset them or because you want to be seen to care?

Constantly trying to please others is simply unsustainable if you want to achieve mental and emotional well-being and be able to achieve high performance.

The disease to please is like the perfection trap. It is energy-sapping and unrealistic to believe that everyone will like you or agree with you.

You’ve got to reframe your brain to understand that you can’t control what other people think and say about you. The disease to please everyone would cause you to stress as you are trying to meet everyone else’s expectations.

If you want to rise higher in your career or business and excel in life, you must change this limiting mindset of being a people pleaser. Develop the confidence and discipline to say NO when you need to, establish boundaries, and discover that living life on your own terms is liberating.

Follow me on LinkedIn, Instagram, and visit my website and Academy for more info!


Maureen Chiana, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Maureen is the CEO and founder of The Mindsight Academy and host of Lead To Excel Podcast. She leverages on brain-science insights of how the brain works to empower executives, leaders and business owners to unlock potential, maximise performance, accelerate and embed new behaviours to enable them transform how they lead, work and live. Maureen is passionate about helping people mitigate the biases that negatively affects them and their decisions, so that they can flourish, excel and become limitless.



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