Are you a people pleaser?Posted by On May 12, 2015

Are you a people pleaser? Do you say “Yes, no problem” when someone asks you to do something,  but in your head you are screaming “NO!”

For some people this is the story of their lives. They spend so much time chasing the clock  trying to complete other people’s urgent tasks, which aren’t important and never get to their own truly important tasks.

With this in mind I have been reviewing Eisenhower’s Important and Urgent Principle.  How this principle is explained is that once you have selected and completed  important activities they generally lead to personal goal achievement. This makes complete sense and seems so simple, but why is it so hard to get started on the important tasks? On the other hand urgent activities are usual associated with completing other people’s goals. So why do so many people complete other people’s urgent tasks before tackling their own important ones?

Why do people fall into the people pleaser category? Do they feel guilty or pressurised? Do they just say “yes” to avoid a confrontation?

The following questions will help you to consciously choose which tasks you will complete:

1) Why am I performing this task?

In other words, “What am I getting out of performing this task?” If the answer is a positive one such as “I get pleasure out of helping someone” , or if completing this task is going to benefit you in some direct or indirect way, then go for it.

If the answer to this question provokes thoughts  such as “I am carrying out this task to keep the peace” or ” I want to avoid confrontation because I want people to like me”  then you need to continue answering  the next set of questions.

2) What am I compromising?

By completing this urgent task what are you losing? Time? An opportunity to complete your own goals?  Are you compromising your own value system or your voice?

3) How can I change my situation to ensure my important tasks are done first?

If you are constantly operating in the people pleaser mode and are not happy with it, the following tips may help to change your behaviour…

  • Firstly, learn how to distinguish between important and urgent tasks. As everything on your to-do list is definitely not all important and urgent. This  will help you to prioritise your tasks. (click on this link to an easy to follow template, which will help you to prioritise your tasks)
  • Secondly, learn how to say “NO” respectfully and practise saying “NO”. By saying “no” to others you are saying “yes” to yourself. Putting yourself first is key.
  • And lastly, have a few answers ready so when someone does approach you with an urgent unimportant task, you are confident  in your answer.

“Sorry, I cannot help you at the moment. I am busy working on another project”

“I cannot help you right now, but I can look at my diary and see when I can fit it in”

If you are a serial people pleaser it will feel awkward in the beginning, but persevere as you are only investing in yourself by saying “NO”.

Nicole Coyne



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Eisenhower's Important and Urgent principlepeople pleaser

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Nicole Coyne

Nicole is a certified professional coach as well as a certified trainer, advanced assessor and coach mentor. Based in Auckland, she provides a range of coaching options, from individual business owner and management coaching, group and team coaching workshops to personal coaching. Her coaching practice is aligned to the ICF ethos and ethics. Need to hire a professional coach? Contact Nicole 

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