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Many people I know are “people pleasers” to a greater or lesser extent. Are you one of them?

Unfortunately people pleasers tend to over commit themselves because they find it hard to say “no.”

On a business note

After the 2008 financial crisis Jim Collins wrote How the Mighty Fall, a book which looked into the reasons for the failure of many established companies. One of the reasons he emphasised, was what he called the “undisciplined pursuit of more,” which sounds very similar to an over committed people pleaser.

Collins states that when a company buys another company, and it turns out to be a mistake, you cannot undo the mistake. He says that big acquisitions taken out of bravado rather than penetrating insight and understanding, can bring you down.

David Packard, co-founder of HP said that a great company is more likely to die of indigestion from too much opportunity than starvation from too little. He said that no company can consistently grow revenues faster than its ability to get enough of the right people to implement that growth; it will not only stagnate, it will fall.

The right people

Without the right people, bureaucracy with all its rules and regulations will abound. According to Collins this will drive away the right people; and a culture of bureaucratic mediocrity will gradually replace a culture of disciplined excellence.

One notable distinction between wrong- and right people according to Collins is that the wrong people see themselves as having “jobs,” while the right people see themselves as having “responsibilities.”


Therefore Greg McKeown in Essentialism, The Disciplined Pursuit of Less asks the question

Am I investing in the right activities / things?

He says that there are far more opportunities in the world than we have time or resources to invest in. He says that Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy by doing only what is essential.

# For many people it is very difficult to say no to friends or family asking them to get involved in projects they are involved in. Should it be something you really love, it’s okay. The problem is when you dislike what is required of you.

If you say yes, you’ll be a hero for the moment, but you’ll regret it all the time you are busy doing it and probably just wish to get done with it. If you say no, you’ll be seen as the odd one out, because “everybody is doing it.” Yet while they are busy toiling with the kind of work you dislike, you’ll be glad that you had the guts to say “no.”

Know where to be involved

According to McKeown it is better to concentrate your efforts on only a few things that you enjoy rather than trying to please everybody. In the end you’ll be scattered, running around achieving very little. It is much better to focus your energy on those things that resemble your strengths; better to be a specialist in a few things than a jack of all trades.

It is best for yourself and your company if you’ll commit your efforts to those things in which you are talented and love to do. To continually do work that you actually dislike, will stress you out and may even lead to depression.

The better you know and understand yourself, the easier it is to get involved with those projects that matches your strengths and personality and to say no to those not matching your authentic self.

To be able to know what to accept and when to decline opportunities and requests you need to know yourself. A Career Direct Assessment will help you know and understand your authentic self. I can assure you, it makes all the difference.


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