You’re a People Pleaser, and It’s Killing Your Career.
You hate when people are upset with you. You do anything to avoid uncomfortable confrontations. You always put others before yourself, even if it’s not logical or fair. You’re a “people pleaser.” And, it just might be killing your career.
Confrontation Avoidance, Self-Sacrifice, and Self-Sabotage.
All my life, for whatever psychological reasons, I know that I’ve naturally been a people pleaser. But it wasn’t until I was until a year or two into my career that I realized my “people-pleasing” behavior was damaging to my personal development and career growth.
“Fake it ‘Til You Make it” Confidence Can Only Go So Far.
In my first “real-life” job after college, I was put in an exciting leadership position. Although from the outside, it looked like I was confident and in control, I had a debilitating fear of displeasing my superiors. I even had a hard time letting go the worst employees and contractors in fear of putting someone in a difficult position. The anxiety hung like a cloud around me, and I was living off the “fake it ‘til you make it” mentality. Instead of focusing on creative projects and new ideas, I spent my energy on confrontation avoidance.
My fear of being disliked was forcing me to sacrifice opportunities, and these bottled anxieties left me miserable and exhausted. Something had to change. I began speaking to those close to me as well as various mentors around me about how I would overcome this weakness. Although I can attest that fighting a weakness is something you’ll always have to grow and get better at, if you put in the mental work, you will overcome.
How to Confront Your Fear, and Find Courage to Be Disliked:
#1 – Accept Your Weakness
Overcoming the fear of being disliked is not a fast or easy journey. Accepting that this is a weakness is the first step. Be honest with yourself. You will already feel relieved in confronting your own self about the issue.
#2 – Recognize that This is a Difficult Journey
The second step is recognizing that facing your fears will be terrifying at times, and will take practice. However, it will totally be worth it in the end. It’s important to never give up on this – it’s a goal, just like any other.
#3 – Have One Conversation Each Day That Makes You Uncomfortable
If you’ve lived in fear of being disliked, it’s very likely you’ve got a long list of things that are bothering you at work or at home that you’ve been avoiding. Write all of them down in a journal, and aim to tackle one conversation each day. This will likely be the most terrifying part of your journey but once you get started, you’ll become more comfortable with confrontation.
#4 – Make a New Habit of Speaking Up Sooner Than Later
If something concerns you, bothers you, or makes you question – don’t wait. Speak up early if you have a question, concern, or problem. This is especially important in the workplace. If you live in fear that asking a question, suggesting a different solution, or bringing up an issue – you are not only inhibiting your personal and professional growth, but that of your team as well. Start taking one for the team, and yourself, and thrive in the discomfort of asking more questions and bringing up issues before it’s too late.