The Height of Selfishness – Being a People Pleaser

Have you ever felt stuck.  Have you ever asked yourself why?  One very quick way to get stuck is to try to please everyone.  By people pleasing we find ourselves backed into a corner, because, when you’re trying to make everyone happy, you ultimately make no one happy, especially yourself.  

The most intense problem with people pleasing is, it becomes an addiction, an addiction to approval.  If you truly want to paralyze your purpose, this is the way to do it.

If you have people in your life who have to approve of every move you make or you can’t be happy, you’re done.  Seriously, your through, finished, the party’s over.

This is not living for purpose, or meaning, or to make a difference this is being sold to a feeling.  Being so addicted to that feeling you get when a certain person, or persons likes you.  To be an effective leader, you need to be likable no doubt, but you also, can not care what others think about you, and you for certain can not be owned by their approval.  You have to be able to believe in your dream and in yourself no matter what.


Think about how ridiculous and insecure this is.  That our life is going to revolve around what other people think.  Imagine what that could cause.

    1.  Total Confusion:  In a group of any number of people, you will have a plethora of opinions.

    2.  Total Paralyses:  if you are trying to please everyone, you will please no one, therefore you remain in an immovable state.

    3.  Total Frustration:  If frustration is the differential between expectation and reality, and your living according to someone elses expectation your reality will never be what you want it to be.

    4.  Total Leadership Stagnation:  It will make you incapable of making hard decisions, confronting people problems, trouble shooting conflict.  It literally will impede your ability to lead.

People do matter.  I hear people say all the time, I don’t care what anyone thinks.  This may be true of someone, but not anyone I’ve ever met.  We like to say that, because it sounds tough, and strong, but its a lie.  Human beings have a deep need to belong, and belonging has a certain level of acceptance thats needed which only comes when you care about what others think.  However, you can’t let what others think rule you.  We all need to know, our purpose, live our life with intention and not be dissuaded by others opinions.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t pursue a mentor, or ask for advice, or get a confidants opinion about an issue.  All of these things are fine, as a matter of fact if you’re smart you’ll realize they are imperative to your success.  This is not the same, is being a people pleaser.

You may ask the question, but aren’t we supposed to add value to people?  Yes.  That’s what leaders do.  That’s what gives us credibility and gains us influence.  Adding value to people though, is not the same as people pleasing.

There is a profound difference between adding value to people, and being a people Pleaser.  People pleasing is a problem, especially in the area of leadership.  There’s nothing wrong, with liking people, and wanting to do good things for them.  Adding value to someone literally just means to serve them.  Am I saying we shouldn’t serve other people? Absolutely not.  What I’m saying is, stop being self serving.

When we’re people pleasing, we think we’re serving others, because we’re trying to please them.  However, we’re not trying to please them for what we are able to do for them.  We are seeking to please them for how it makes us feel.  To be a person who literally lives for the approval of others, is not about living for their benefit, but to get that approval that makes us feel good about ourselves.  It’s a completely selfish motive.


So if you’re a leader, add value to people, serve them, care about them, love them and help them, but don’t live your life to please them, live your life to partner with them so their potential and your potential will come to fruition, then you can be confident in yourself and in them, and in who God has made you to be.