As an online business owner, putting your best foot forward is essential. You want people to see your content, use your services and be happy with your offer. But sometimes, this can be challenging because of something we call “people-pleasing tendencies.” As a business owner, I’ve struggled with pleasing people for the past eight years. For a long time, it kept me from everything I desired to achieve in my career.
Having people-pleasing tendencies, or being a business owner who is a people-pleaser, means that you always want everyone who sees your work or uses your services to be happy. While this is a good thing in some ways, it can also hold you back from reaching your full potential. In this blog post, we’ll explore the dilemma of the online business owner and discuss how to overcome the temptation always to please everyone!
Business owners may miss that they are struggling with people-pleasing tendencies for several reasons, including:
- The belief that people-pleasing is a positive trait: Some people view people-pleasing as a positive trait, as it can be associated with being kind, cooperative, and empathetic. They may not recognize that their people-pleasing behaviors can have negative consequences, such as compromising their needs, values, or goals.
- Difficulty recognizing their own needs: People-pleasers may be so focused on meeting the needs of others that they need to realize when they are overextending themselves. This can make it challenging to identify when their people-pleasing behaviors are causing them stress or impacting their business success.
- Fear of criticism or rejection: People-pleasers may avoid behaviors that could lead to criticism or rejection, including seeking feedback or reflecting on their behavior. This can prevent them from recognizing when their people-pleasing behaviors negatively impact their business.
- Lack of awareness of alternative behaviors: People-pleasers may need to be aware of alternative behaviors or communication styles that can be effective in business, such as assertiveness or delegation. This can make it challenging for them to recognize when their people-pleasing behaviors are holding them back.
How might some of these behaviors affect how you show up for yourself in the workplace or your business?
Overall, people-pleasers may miss that they struggle with people-pleasing tendencies because of cultural norms or beliefs, difficulty recognizing their needs, fear of criticism or rejection, and lack of awareness of alternative behaviors.
Growing up in a home where I lived with my grandparents and then my aunt and uncle created a struggle in my mind when it came to taking up space as a child. I had to become an adult before most to survive, even throughout my teenage years into womanhood. In some countries, we are taught to be seen and not heard as children and girls. I remember hearing this over and over in my childhood!
I remember googling how to be confident years later because I was always attracted to being the opposite of what I felt I had to be while growing up. I admired strong women who weren’t afraid to stand up for themselves and stand for what they believed in. I loved seeing independent women who were not controlled by anyone’s opinion. I wanted the same thing, so I read books and searched online for resources to help me build my confidence and self-esteem.
As time went on, I began to develop the skills needed when I started to blossom as a business owner. I realized being shy, overly accommodating, and having no boundaries would prevent me from standing out, differentiating myself from the competition, building a personal brand, attracting the right people to work with, and so on. There was no room to play small regarding my dreams and goals.
That’s when I realized that real power comes from within – no matter how much criticism or difficult circumstances you face, you can choose how to react and see yourself. I realized that being polite doesn’t mean suppressing your voice – it means using it respectfully so that others can hear and appreciate it. It means the courage to speak up and be heard, even when uncomfortable.
So I began to consciously practice using my voice in a way that empowered both me and those around me. I started seeing myself as an agent of positive change, not just someone who had to please others at all costs.
Recognizing and addressing these challenges can help business owners overcome their people-pleasing tendencies and succeed tremendously. Still, I didn’t have the correct words for what I was experiencing for years.
I spent a few years when I first started building my business, wondering why I couldn’t get up and sell effortlessly like other people. I asked why I couldn’t be consistent as some of the entrepreneurs in my industry. I also wondered why I fell flat when it came to showing up and being big and bold to create, market, and sell my products and services.
How can People-Pleasing Go Unrecognized in the Entrepreneurial Journey?
People-pleasing is a common trait among entrepreneurs, which can go unrecognized and even hinder their success. People-pleasing can lead to a lack of clear direction and mission in business, poor decisions on what products or services to create and market, decreased productivity, fear of making mistakes, low self-confidence, and so on.
Are you resonating with any of what I am sharing here at all? I wrote this blog post because, like me, people don’t realize the core of their struggle to build a successful business.
Here are some reasons why people-pleasing can go unrecognized in entrepreneurship:
- It is often seen as a positive trait: People-pleasing is often seen as a positive trait in society, as it is associated with being kind, accommodating, and easy to work with. As a result, many entrepreneurs may need to recognize that their desire to please others is causing them to neglect their needs and goals.
- Entrepreneurs are expected to be customer-focused: You are expected to focus on the needs and wants of your customers. However, people-pleasers may take this to an extreme, prioritizing the needs of their customers over their own needs and goals.
- There is pressure to be liked: Entrepreneurs often feel pressure to be appreciated by their customers and colleagues. People-pleasers may take this pressure to an extreme, going out of their way to please others, even if it means compromising their values or goals.
- It can be challenging to set boundaries: People-pleasers may have difficulty setting boundaries, as they fear disappointing others or being seen as challenging to work with. This can lead to a lack of limits in their business, which can negatively impact their productivity and success.
- People-pleasers may struggle with self-promotion: People-pleasers may struggle with self-promotion, as they may feel uncomfortable drawing attention to themselves or their business. This can make marketing and selling their products or services challenging.
Writing this feels like a punch to the gut. I see so many aspects of my past self in these sentences. I can see many instances when I started my business where I didn’t advocate for myself or my capacity and dropped the ball because I thought I needed to be better. I’m so thankful I have tried to grow and demonstrate my worth. It’s a process, but it is so rewarding.
I work with business owners who need help with marketing. Marketing is the lifeblood of your business. With it, you will get the necessary visibility and attention to grow. Even if you are naturally uncomfortable with self-promotion, pushing through those feelings is essential.
By embracing your unique voice, setting clear boundaries, and prioritizing your needs and goals, you can build a thriving business that aligns with your vision. Remember, self-promotion is not about bragging; it’s about sharing your value with the world and attracting the right audience who appreciates your expertise. Don’t let the fear of criticism or rejection hinder your growth.