Trying to please everyone is impossible.

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Looking back in life,  as a child the world was to be a better place if we placed our own happiness with others and served them accordingly. Having applied this personally and professionally and to be told  that I suffer from a ‘Mother Theresa complex’ (Giving too much of oneself), has been an eye opener.

Professionally, I've been a part of many team's where we provided clients with amazing service and offered employees and co-founders a satisfying working environment. There is just one problem …I am a nice. There is nothing wrong with being a nice person but rather the red flag goes up when self realization sinks in that you are a a people pleaser. Experience has shown that being a people-pleaser isn’t beneficial in  life or business. It meant that I was placing my worth on other people’s perceptions of me. This did not make me an effective leader, friend and cofounder.

In any industry, we strive to provide clients with delightful service. By providing clients a high level of attention, we build our reputation upon which our brand is based. People pleasers often get taken advantage of and that is not a productive feeling or relationship builder . Not setting the right expectations and going beyond the scope of a project to please a client is not to be applauded. In setting expectations, we train our clients on what our relationship will be like, and setting unrealistic expectations will eventually bring ruin.

In this never-ending cycle, the people-pleaser is fearful of not meeting expectations. Saying “no” after a long period of being a Yes-woman is much worse than if one had set the proper expectations to start.

Tips to Avoid People-Pleasing

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Stick to your process and only change it after clear reasoning. It is not set in stone, but it’s not a process if you’re willing to change at the drop of a hat. Consistency is key and it helps people build trust in you.


Educate your client on your way of doing business. Setting proper expectations up front, sets up the tone for the entire relationship going forward. There is a trust that builds when your client understands how you function and appreciates it when you stick to it.


People pleaser’s have a hard time discussing an issue and even avoid it so as to avoid unhappiness on their end and the client’s. If you’re unhappy with something, discuss it immediately. Sweeping issues under the rug will not fix the problem. It will create the dreaded ‘snowball effect’. Take a proactive approach and have those discussions. People respond to those who can take charge and lead with honesty.

These guidelines can be applied to your business and personal life. If saying no pushes someone out of your life or business then maybe they were not good a good fit to start. There is nothing wrong with being a nice person, just don’t become a doormat. Strike a balance between being nice and setting realistic expectations and you will become a more effective leader.

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Question: What is your take on people pleasing, is it beneficial or harmful? What changes have you made to set realistic expectations in business and in your personal life?


Kamni Gupta
Idiya Consulting