Why self-leadership is the antidote to people pleasing.
Who else is a Hootenanny fan?
I love Jools Holland and his quirky musicianship and every New Year’s Eve we listen, laugh and sing and dance along. This year was no different, but one act caught my attention more than any other - Cat Burns, with her song People Pleaser.
The start of the lyrics so clearly depict the challenges of people pleasing and their origins:
'I hate confrontation
It makes me uncomfortable
My brain goes hazy, racin'
My mind get vulnerable
It's a lose-lose situation (delayin')
Communication (just makes it worse)
I wish I could just say it straight away
Oh, I hate bein' this way
Learnt it from such a young age
My needs and wants ain't important anyway'
When I listened to the song it nudged at a deep truth and reminded me of my own journey with people pleasing and what I see as the antidote - sustainable self-leadership.
As a child carer by default there was a hierarchy of needs within the family and often I would find roles and needs reversed. It was never intentional, just a product of happenstance, but it still left its legacy.
▶ Life directed by other people’s wants and needs and capacities
▶ Success defined by other people's definitions and expectations.
▶ An orientation towards helping others before helping myself.
▶ A workaholism - exhaustion cycle to patch the gap in my self-worth.
▶ One burnout cycle too much.
▶ A recognition that my patterns had led me to a professional role that left me unfulfilled.
▶ A mid-life awakening to what was going on and commitment to finding me.
This is where my relationship with self-leadership started.
What is self-leadership?
Self-leadership is having a really clear sense of who you are, your skills, strengths, motivations, natural inclinations, rhythms, limitations, needs and desires in addition to a clear sense of what you want your life to be about, your goals, and the ability to effectively communicate so that your needs and wants are met.
Fundamental to my ABC model of sustainable self-leadership is the development of two core belief systems: Self-worth (the belief that you are worthy of that which you desire), and self-efficacy (the belief that you can achieve what you desire).
I invested in connecting with myself; to clarifying what was important; what I REALLY wanted out of life; what I was and was not willing to tolerate.
I invested in training, coaching and mentoring.
And here I am.
Living my own definition of success and helping other purpose-driven women to do the same so they can lead with courage without sacrificing themselves.
I also learned that there are always times when I need additional support to retain a path that is true to who ‘I’ am – the temptation to put other’s needs first is high, particularly as an adult carer and mum.
To all fellow people pleasers, know this. It is possible to move beyond it. It is possible to find yourself. It is possible to live and lead on your terms, but it requires effort and support.
How can you start to develop self-leadership?
In my LEAD programme we start by examining our boundaries, clarifying our boundary story and creating self-compassionate acceptance.
Then we dig into those internal nudges. Our values – what is really important.
What, if other people’s opinions did not matter, would you be doing differently or striving for?
What do we actually want from our lives?
We create goals, and plans.
We identify and move beyond those pesky self-doubts that keep us people pleasing.
And then we develop communication strategies so we can express our opinions, wants, needs and desires from a position of assertive self-love, rather than defensiveness or dismissiveness.
If this is the year you want to move beyond people pleasing, to create ways of working that sustain rather than deplete you, then drop me a DM or book directly into my calendar so we can work out a strategy to move you forwards.
If you want to know more about the model then I'd love for you to attend one of my FREE 90 minute workshops.