The Weight of People Pleasing



One of the biggest breakthroughs I see in my coaching students is when they realize that they are carrying someone else’s baggage on their own back. When this happens it opens a door of freedom. It provides a path to increased focus and greater productivity for working on their business. It also opens more and more windows of opportunities to create the life they want and deserve.

This idea of carrying someone else’s baggage on our backs was really brought to my attention by Dr. Dan Rosin.  He wrote about it in his profoundly simple, yet powerfully effective book, Finding Balance: 101 Concepts for Taking Better Care of Self. 

I interviewed Dr.Dan during an interview series I did, called, Freedom for Educators.  Here is what he had to say...

It makes sense, right?  I would highly recommend this quick read book of 101 concepts. I’ll include the link to buy it below.

You’re bound to get weighed down by other people’s problems when you’re trying to make everyone happy.  Doing this over and over again is really a form of people-pleasing which stems from low self-worth.  

You may wonder, why am I teaching (talking about or introducing the concept of) people-pleasing and low self-worth when I teach you how to create and start a successful business?  

This trait of people-pleasing can be directly traced back as the culprit of the demise of many well-intentioned companies.  What do I mean by this?

Well, let me explain by telling you a story about a mother named Cindy.  Cindy was a PTO Mom in the school I was a teacher at, and let me tell you she did it all-- anything anyone ever wanted, Cindy was there practically begging to help.  

I know all of this as Cindy was one of my parent moms, even though she didn’t have a child in my class.  She volunteered more hours than any other actual parent in my classroom and was also a devoted copy machine repair person for any time our teacher’s lounge copier went on the fritz.  She’d almost always find a way to fix it, and when she did, she’d hover around it waiting for people’s compliments and to be showered with thanks.  

Oh, but that’s not all, every Friday Cindy would bring the whole school’s staff of 40 teachers, support staff, and administrators, Chinese Chicken Noodle Salad--and oh boy, was it good!

So one day, Cindy doesn’t show up on her regularly assigned helper day.  This was extremely unlike Cindy, as she was always on time and prompt.

I knew something had to be wrong.  So, after school, after still no sign or word from Cindy, I rang her house (back then we had home phones).  Her high school daughter who several years back was one of my 5th-grade students, answered the phone. I could tell Erica had been crying.  I asked her about her mom, and this is what she told me.  

“My mom is always running around trying to make everyone else happy, and please them, so much so that she’s done and gone herself into a nervous breakdown since she never looked after herself, only other people.”

True story. Cindy’s monkeys had weighed her down so much she crumbled under the weight.


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