Last week I was sitting on a train back to London from Liverpool and listening to the Goop podcast. Now before some of you switch off (my colleague James has already declared it as absolute chod), this podcast was recommended by another, very well received podcast The High Low, from journalists Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes.
I'm listening to the first one, which features the hugely influential Oprah where she talks about power, perception and soul purpose. Now admittedly, I'm not enjoying it as much as I thought I would. It's quite hard to listen to her speak about taking life slowly and appreciating the simple things when she has a bank account with 8 zeros on the end. Some people can't practice finding the "essence" of themselves or finding their highest sense of self when they have so many worries and responsibilities playing on their minds.
One phrase that she has said, however, "the disease to please" has really stuck with me. I think I do suffer from this and so will many, many others. While I'm not about to go and clutch my healing crystal and chant these thoughts away, I am wondering how this is affecting me. Importantly, how it's affecting my working day.
The need to please I think stems from a very simple mindset, wanting to be liked. If we are likeable, we will have lots of friends, be really happy, make more money, live a more fulfilled life.. the list goes on. But what if it's having the opposite effect? I wanted to take a minute to think about how the disease to please might be negatively affecting my work and how I can think and act to change this.
Initially, pleasing people may have a positive effect on your brand as you're considered helpful and likeable. But there soon becomes a grey area where I believe the need to please is taken advantage of. If you are always saying yes, people start to assume you will do things for them, go above and beyond all the time and most worryingly, see you as lower down the food chain. Doing something for someone soon becomes them delegating things to you all the time, and therefore it can be harder to be recognised.
This is pretty simple - if you say yes to doing things for others all the time, you overload yourself. You have less time to do your own things and you give other's work a higher priority. If your own work suffers as a result of pleasing others, you, in turn, will look bad in your client's eyes.
At Passle, we talk a lot about authenticity - the power one real voice has over a wave of "corporate noise". What happens then if the views and opinions you give only have one objective - to please people? If you are giving false advice and opinion then your authenticity and credibility are severely diminished. It will also make it difficult for you to give criticism (even the constructive kind) as a change in your usually people-pleasing persona will be taken in a very negative way.