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Putting Yourself First: Overcoming People-Pleasing for Career Success

Have you ever found yourself saying “yes” to a request at work, even though you knew it was going to be too much to handle? Do you get anxious at the thought of turning down a request or proposal?

If so, you may be a people-pleaser, and it could be negatively impacting your career success. In this article, we will explore the negative effects of people-pleasing in the workplace and provide practical steps for overcoming this tendency.

Heavy Workloads and Unreasonable Requests

One of the main downsides of people-pleasing in the workplace is the potential for heavy workloads and unreasonable requests. People-pleasers tend to take on more work than they can handle, leading to burnout and a decreased quality of work.

It’s easy to see why people-pleasers fall into this trap. They want to be liked, and they believe that saying “yes” to every request will help them achieve this goal.

However, it’s important to remember that there are limits to what we can do, and taking on too much work can hurt our productivity and effectiveness. If you find yourself constantly overwhelmed at work, it may be time to reevaluate your workload.

Learn to say “no” when you feel like you’re being pushed too far. It’s okay to set boundaries and communicate your limits to your colleagues.

Going Along with Subpar Ideas

Another major downside of people-pleasing is the tendency to go along with subpar ideas or solutions. People-pleasers often lack assertiveness and may feel uncomfortable speaking up when they disagree with the group or have a better idea.

This can be detrimental to your career because it prevents you from showcasing your own original ideas and perspectives. When you go along with the group, you’re not adding much value to the conversation, and you could risk being seen as a passive or unproductive member of the team.

If you’re struggling with this issue, it’s important to recognize that your ideas and opinions matter. Practice speaking up in meetings and offering alternative proposals.

Over time, you’ll gain the confidence to express yourself more freely and effectively.

Admitting and Committing to Change

Now that we’ve explored some of the negative effects of people-pleasing, let’s talk about how to overcome this tendency. The first step is to admit that you have a problem and commit to making a change.

Self-reflection is key in this process. Take some time to reflect on your behavior at work and ask yourself if you’ve been engaging in people-pleasing.

Once you’ve identified the issue, commit to making a change and setting healthier boundaries.

Asking Others for Help

Another useful strategy for overcoming people-pleasing is to ask others for help. Delegation is an important skill to learn, and it can be especially helpful when you’re feeling overwhelmed at work.

Don’t be afraid to ask your colleagues for help with a task or project. Chances are, they’ll be happy to lend a hand, and you’ll be able to reduce your workload and focus on the tasks that are most important.

Making it an Official Goal

If you’re serious about overcoming people-pleasing, consider making it an official goal in your professional development plan. Talk to your supervisor about your desire to make a change and ask for their support in achieving this goal.

Having a concrete plan in place can be very motivating, and it helps to hold you accountable for your actions. Your supervisor can also provide feedback and support along the way, making it easier to stay on track.

Practicing Saying “No”

Learning to say “no” is a crucial step in overcoming people-pleasing. Saying “no” doesn’t make you a bad colleague or employee, it simply means that you’re prioritizing your own workload and well-being.

Practice saying “no” in a polite but firm manner. You can offer alternative solutions or suggest another time to take on the task.

Remember that it’s okay to say “no” when you feel like you’re being pushed too far.

Taking Baby Steps

Changing behavior patterns takes time and effort. One of the best ways to ensure success is to take small, incremental steps towards your goal.

Start by saying “no” to smaller requests or delegating one task per week. Over time, you’ll build momentum and confidence, making it easier to take on bigger challenges.

Realizing You Are Not Alone

Finally, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone in this struggle. Many people struggle with people-pleasing at work, and it’s a common issue in the professional world.

By reaching out to others and asking for help, you’ll create a support network that can help you overcome this tendency. Remember, asking for help is a strength, not a weakness.

In conclusion, people-pleasing can have negative effects on your career success, but it’s not a hopeless situation. By setting healthy boundaries, speaking up, and practicing saying “no,” you can overcome this tendency and achieve greater success in the workplace.

Putting Yourself First for Career Success

While it’s important to be a team player and collaborate effectively in the workplace, it’s equally important to prioritize your own needs and goals. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of putting yourself first and provide strategies for improving your career success by prioritizing self-care.

Striving to Make Everyone Happy is Unsustainable

Many people fall into the trap of trying to make everyone happy in the workplace. While this may seem like a noble goal, it’s actually an unsustainable behavior that can lead to long-term negative effects on both your career success and personal wellbeing.

When you prioritize the needs and wants of others over your own, you’re likely to experience burnout, resentment, and a sense of being taken for granted. This feeling of being overwhelmed can result in reduced productivity, decreased motivation, and even physical and mental health problems.

Research has also shown that constantly striving to make everyone happy can lead to decreased job satisfaction and decreased self-esteem, which can impact your success in the workplace. Employees who are constantly trying to please others may be seen as passive or weak, which can limit their opportunities for advancement or leadership roles.

Prioritizing Yourself

So how can you regain control of your career success and prioritize your own self-care? Here are a few strategies to consider:


Learn to say “no”. As we discussed in the previous section, saying “no” is an important part of prioritizing your own needs.

When faced with a request or demand that doesn’t align with your goals or priorities, be willing to push back respectfully and assertively. 2.

Set boundaries. Establish clear boundaries around your work time and personal time, and communicate them to your colleagues, supervisors, and clients.

This could mean closing your email after work hours or scheduling regular breaks to engage in self-care activities. 3.

Practice self-care. Prioritizing self-care activities like exercise, meditation, or spending time with loved ones can go a long way in reducing stress and helping you maintain a positive attitude at work.

4. Build your support network.

Surround yourself with colleagues, mentors, and friends who understand the importance of putting yourself first and can offer encouragement and support along the way. 5.

Focus on your own goals. Take time to reflect on your own career aspirations and develop a plan to achieve them.

By focusing on your goals, you can better align your actions and decisions with your long-term vision for success. 6.

Speak up. Don’t be afraid to speak up and voice your needs and preferences in the workplace.

By advocating for yourself, you’ll be more likely to receive accommodations and opportunities that align with your needs and preferences. In conclusion, putting yourself first is a critical component of career success.

By learning to say “no,” setting boundaries, practicing self-care, and focusing on your own goals, you can improve your productivity, motivation, and self-esteem in the workplace. Remember, prioritizing your own needs and goals is not only an act of self-care, but it can also lead to greater career success and fulfillment.

In conclusion, prioritizing yourself in the workplace is crucial for long-term career success and personal wellbeing. Striving to make everyone happy is an unsustainable behavior that can lead to burnout and decreased job satisfaction.

On the other hand, putting yourself first by learning to say “no,” setting boundaries, practicing self-care, and focusing on your own goals can lead to improved productivity, motivation, and self-esteem. Remember, the key to success lies in prioritizing yourself and advocating for your own needs and preferences.

By doing so, you’ll be able to achieve your career aspirations and enjoy a more fulfilling professional and personal life.

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