What I’ve learnt as a recovering people pleaser


Vulnerable moment, I am a recovering people-pleaser. Doing or saying something that made someone else not

like me was one of the worst feelings I could possibly feel. Even if, deep down, I knew it had nothing to do with me, it would eat me up inside. That was until I learnt that if you step into your true, authentic self and be true to your values, there’s no way in hell you’re going to make everyone happy. You’re going to piss people off, and that’s a good thing because you’re being true to you. I’m sorry, but there’s no way around it. Be prepared to take a little heat. Don’t let the words of others cut you down. Craft a mindset that’s impervious to hate. Hey, it’s not easy – but it is possible. I’ve certainly received my share of hate over the years, especially as I’ve become more successful. At times, it did cut deep, but I didn’t let myself bleed out.

It’s all about mindset 

There are ways of viewing and dealing with people who may not be your biggest fans. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, mindset is key. Being a business owner comes with its share of headaches, believe me. Stress and anxiety are a part of the package. We have to deal with complaints, lost contracts, cashflow issues, people who want to steal our hard work or get it all for free, and haters who are jealous of our success. You’ll usually find the latter in the Wild West of the internet, particularly on social media. However, most haters can be safely ignored, as their hate is usually a reflection of them rather than something relevant to you.

Know who you can count on 

I’ve had people who I thought were friends badmouth me when I’ve won awards. Yeah, it turned out they weren’t true friends after all. You live; you learn. I also had a colleague jump onto a vulnerable post I put up and say I was just doing it to make money and was being inauthentic. When, really, I was opening up about some massive challenges in my life and wanting to show people that, hey, if I can be successful, you can too. Instead of coming to me privately, she just threw it out on social media. I was upset. It hurt, massively; I won’t deny it. I didn’t even know this woman. We were part of the same training community that thrived on supporting each other. Thankfully, one of my closest coaching mates helped me realise the problem wasn’t with me. Something was likely going on in her life. Perhaps she’d had a bad day. I knew her accusations were groundless, so why let it bother me? It helped that everyone else who commented had my back and ended up having a go at her. Ah, sweet justice. Understand that you’ve got a community. A tribe. And do you know what? It can’t include everyone. It’s just not possible. At the end of the day, haters gonna hate. It’s their nature.

Dealing with complaints  

Occasionally, clients will have genuine complaints, and these can help you learn and grow. But sometimes people just like to complain. These recreational complainers can put a lot of stress on you as a business owner when they insert themselves into your life. Who likes dealing with complaints? If you do happen to enjoy fielding complaints, that’s an amazing superpower to have but not one that a lot of us share. A complaint can ruin a day if your mindset isn’t solid. You’re going to face objections. It’s inevitable. Unavoidable.

It’s a part of doing business. How you handle it, not just physically but also mentally, makes all the difference.

“The customer is always right” is one of the worst phrases I’ve ever heard. The customer is not always right.

Sometimes, they can be totally wrong. It’s a marketing phrase, not a rule to live by. I’m not saying you should

abuse your customers and call them colourful names when they step out of line, but, as a business owner, you

don’t need to take any unjustified shit. If you know you’re in the right, why waste time dealing with complaints that have no substance? Feel free to cut clients loose if they aren’t the right fit. It’s not a fun thing to have to do, but, in the end, it’s best for everyone.

Don’t take it personally 

Do you think that someone who complains right from the get-go is going to suddenly stop and change their ways? Sure, you might win them over, eventually. Then again, you might not. Is it worth the effort when you could be focusing on people who are excited to be working with you? If the conversation is too hard, you’re not speaking to your ideal client. It’s okay to move on. In many cases, it’s for the best. You shouldn’t need to persuade anyone to work with you. Let’s be honest – if you have to do that, they’re not going to get a lot out of your services. So, save both of you the trouble and cut them loose. It’s not worth it, trust me.

Written by Jim Cocks.
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