In Art Of Coaching Podcast, Podcasts

People pleasing –  we’ve all seen it before (whether we recognized it or not) – constantly being agreeable, always saying yes, never setting any boundaries – all to the point of self-destruction.  If you haven’t experienced it yourself, it’s likely you’ve witnessed someone else demonstrate these behaviors. 

And although it may have short-term benefits, we know that these self-destructive tendencies are not sustainable, and can lead to mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion and burnout.

If this is something you think you might struggle with, or if you know someone who does, today’s episode provides a wide variety of perspectives on what “people pleasing” can look like in the day to day world, a number of root causes, and a handful of different solutions you can use to help you manage these behaviors.

More specifically, I dive into: 

  • Quotes that hit – some of the most impactful sound bites I’ve heard on the topic
  • What drives you?  How our drives can lead us into unhealthy people pleasing behaviors
  • The downside to many of the mainstream self-help resources that address the topic
  • The necessary self-reflection that has to take place before we can make long-lasting behavioral changes

Referenced Resources:

E210: Assertiveness: How To Ask For What You Want & Get What You Need

E207: How Perception Impacts Communication & Relationships

E208: Robert Greene: Mastering Human Nature and Facing Your Flaws

E200: What To Do When Trying To Help Makes Stuff Worse

E176: When Positive Thinking Doesn’t Work

E22: The Value of Self-Doubt

E130: How Understanding Drives Helps Build Buy-In

Quiz: What Drives You?

Online Course: Valued – mentioned in today’s episode regarding opportunity cost, this life-time access course help you to identify your values and take control of your career

Other AoC Resources:

1:1 Virtual or Group Mentoring/ Staff Development

Group Mentoring (The Coalition)

Online Courses

Live Events

Request Us As a Speaker

Today’s episode was brought to you by:

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Brett Bartholomew  

This episode of The Art of coaching podcast is brought to you by AG1. In a world filled with quick fixes and magic pills. It is rare to find something that actually lives up to the hype. That is why I like AG1. No, it is not a cure all. Nothing is but it is packed with 75 vitamins, minerals, and Whole Foods source ingredients that make an absolute noticeable difference in my health and how I feel, no fluff, just the good stuff. And many of you like me, I know deal with a busy life, you’re moving or you have back to back meetings or you have kids or you’re not getting great sleep. So think of this as nothing more than a nutritional insurance policy. It makes sure that you are not just running on caffeine and sheer willpower. And now he one is giving you guys as art of coaching podcast listeners, a free one year supply of immune supporting vitamin D, and five free travel packs, which are lifesavers, all you have to do is go to visit or sorry, all you have to do is or visit They make it very easy. They make it very practical. And to the point again, go to Now


Welcome to the Art of coaching Podcast. I’m Brett Bartholomew. And at a young age poor communication nearly cost me my life. Now, I help others navigate the gray area of social interaction, power dynamics and communication so they can become more adaptable leaders regardless of their profession, age or situation. This podcast is for everybody who is fascinated with solving people problems. So if you’re in the no nonsense type who appreciates frank conversations, advice you can put to use immediately and learning how others navigate the messy realities of leadership. You’re in the right place. I’m glad that you’re joining us. Let’s dive in.


Alright, let’s get into it. This is all about how to overcome being a people pleaser. We’re going to talk about a lot of different things here. And it is going to be in a format that is pretty informal. That is because there’s a lot of ground to cover. Now I will say this right off the bat, there’s only so much we can cover in a podcast. And within a certain context. This is a topic that my next book is going to speak a lot about. So if you struggle at all with being a people pleaser, and it doesn’t matter if you struggle all the time, just some of the time when you know somebody that struggles, make sure that you go to That’s art of o o, K, and sign up for updates, the book is going to come out as long as everything goes well next fall or depending on when you’re listening to this fall 2024. So you might be listening to this during a time when it’s already out. At that point, it doesn’t matter that will redirect you to the site. I’m not going to give away the title of the book right now. But we are going to cover aspects of this and so many other things that tie into the messy realities of leadership and life. So I think that you’ll really like that. I’ve been working very hard on it. So check that out. 


Some other complimentary episodes, and this is by no means an exhaustive list. And it is not an order necessarily. One. Okay, go to Episode 210. That is all about assertiveness. That’s episode 210. You can find this on Apple podcast Spotify, anywhere you listen to podcasts, Episode 207 perception and relationships. There’s a lot of tie ins here as well. Episode 208 with myself and Robert Greene from the 48 Laws of Power and so many other books is all about facing your flaws and understanding human nature. And then another one that I thought was gonna be good for you is episode 200 What to do when trying to help make things worse, I almost forgot one 176 When positive thinking doesn’t work. So these are nice pairings. 210-207-208 200 176 Remember, no matter when you start listening to the podcast, and we’ve evolved a lot over time, there is something for everybody. We really try to put some straightforward topics out there that impact people in all walks of life. All right, aside from that, I think all the disclaimers are out of the way except for excuse my voice. If I sound like 1999 Slim Shady, I have been battling a cold or bronchitis or god knows what that my three year old has given me for some time, but I did not want that to keep me from doing the episode, so let’s dive in. 


One of the reasons I decided to do this right now is I recently spoke at an event and I had a really thoughtful question. And I’m gonna paraphrase for the sake of time. But essentially, it was from a general manager of an organization that admitted to struggling with being a people pleaser. Now, their context was, they had an employee that wanted some additional resources. And they weren’t able to give that to this particular employee, for any other reason, then that resource pool was limited. They had to allocate these funds or these resources, I can’t remember which one it was and or elsewhere. So that inevitably meant that they had to give that employee some bad news, I can relate to this, as a business owner, I’ve been able to relate to this as a coach, I’ve been able to relate to this as a spouse, and I’m sure many of you have as well. So we are getting into the root cause. And some things that we’re going to lay out informally, and I’m not gonna give you my full advice until we get after it. But essentially, you know, gave him some advice. And I said, this is normal. And you’ll hear some repetitiveness in the episode as well. I said any part of leadership is going to have some moral ambiguity to it. It is, even when you think you’re doing the right thing, it is going to have a trade off, it is going to negatively impact other people. So we’re going to work our way through this. Like I said, I’ll give you some of those tips as we go through the episode. But that is a real good kind of clarifying depiction of what it looked like in that person’s life. Now, I know many of you also listen, some of you like quotes, quotes really take home with you, all of you like strategies, I’m going to try to balance this I am a recovering people pleaser. I realized that I can write books, I can write tweets, we do a newsletter multiple times a month, we can do the podcasts, of course, we’re not going to be able to cover all of them. But I’m gonna make sure that I give you a wide range of things that help all these. So I’m going to read off some quotes here. Maybe one of them sticks with you, maybe it doesn’t, then we’re going to get into the root causes of being a people pleaser. What like why, what does that even look like as well? And then some solutions. 


Okay. So here are some quotes. Even though I’m not a huge quote, guy, I know they can be helpful. And you can put them on a you know, a card or your pegboard or whatever else in your phone, and they can help you. One is attributed to a woman named Cheryl Richardson. If you spend your life pleasing others, you spend your life, I thought that was particularly profound. Obviously, we know the old adage trying to please everybody pleases no one, that was something I told the GM as well, I said, you know, used to be able to say, if you want to make people happy, selling ice cream, even that wouldn’t work now, because people are going to be lactose intolerant, you couldn’t buy a pizza, because people are going to be gluten intolerant. There’s nothing where you’re going to make everybody happy. And another one that is fairly straightforward is better to be hated for what you are, than to be loved for what you’re not. And believe it or not, I’ve had some people disagree with that. And I can see that side of it. I’m not going to get into the full philosophical argument of why they didn’t disagree. But here’s the thing. It’s also just not sustainable. And this is something I’ll repeat again, even if you’re like, well, that’s not entirely true. You know, there are plenty of businesses are things out there that aren’t loved, for who they are. And you know, they’re able to spin that and make money or build a platform off of it or whatever. That’s all fine. And you can have your own opinions about that. But it’s also not sustainable. And that will take a toll on you. One that I love, in particular is never confuse compassion or empathy with people pleasing. One is fundamentally about understanding. The other is about fear. Okay, and I’ve talked before in my work about the difference between compassion and empathy, something else I’ll get into in my next book, but regardless of which one you, align with terminology wise and there are subtle differences. Those are about understanding or wanting to, you know, share or sympathize with somebody, but people pleasing is about fear. It’s about fear of being liked. I mean, in reality, it is like being in an invisible cage, you are so beholden, beholden to the approval of others and being a light that you’re going to end up going nowhere. Whether that’s invisible cage and visible handcuffs, invisible shackles, invisible chains, that is where people pleasing will get you staying in place. Another one is, you have to remember that people pleasing is inherently limiting. It is idealistic, it is impractical, it is impossible, and it is inherently limiting. it constrains all of us to a one size fits all thinking and mindsets that really stifle our ability to innovate, be adaptable, and have any kind of individual agency. That’s a huge piece as well. I’ll repeat that one because that might help many of you, being a people pleaser is not only are pleasing everybody rather, is not only impossible, and impractical, but it is inherently limiting. It is going to constrain all of us to one size fits all thinking it makes us inflexible, and it robs us of our individual agency. So in that sense, you can think of people pleasing also as a short term strategy. With long term consequences. It may make today easier for you, but it is going to make tomorrow dramatically, more complicated. And this is true whether you run a business as staff in your relationship, that’s one area where, you know, obviously, I’m biased, but it’s why our company was created. We’re trying to change the way many of you interact with your partners, your husband, your wife, your kids, your spouse is yourself, because that’s a huge piece of this as well. That’s a huge piece. So the only way you unlearn people pleasing is to start valuing your own judgment, yourself and your boundaries. You know, the minute you start trusting yourself, you free yourself. So with all that said, What does or what can people pleasing look like. 


 And obviously, this is a non exhaustive list. But for some of you, it is just being overly agreeable. You say yes to almost everything, often at the expense of your own needs, or values. For me, I would even do this when I would make presentations as a speaker, I would feel so I would feel the need. And we’ll talk about how this aligns with our drives and our drives framework later. But, you know, I would feel I really wanted to give these people an excellent experience. And it was like I was filling a hole in myself, because I had wasted money on what ended up being bad Con Ed, I knew what it felt like to get duped or let down. And I didn’t want let other people down. So so much of this was me trying to live up to my own expectations, some of which were impossible. And I’ll talk about how I got over that as well. But also just this, this, what would be the word I’m looking for here. This is always fun when the when the communication guy doesn’t have his words. But we do say that great communication isn’t about you know, just as flawless vernacular, it’s about being real and, and understanding how to adapt, I felt a sense of, I’ll just use accountability or purpose to give that to the audience. Now, some of you people pleasing is this avoidance of confrontation, you don’t like disagreements, difficult conversations are hard for you. So you’d rather opt for what will make people happy in the short term. Some of you excessively apologize. You can say sorry, even when it’s unnecessary, even as a pre emptive measure, to avoid conflict or judgment, lack of boundaries, that is that is self explanatory. seeking validation, you’re constantly looking for affirmation from others, which that can be in the form of compliments, nods, verbal confirmations, again, even I have this, I like feedback, I want to know if our podcast is helpful, our newsletters are helpful. And remember, I mean, some of these things make sense, we spend a lot of time and that time is money, creating these things, and you don’t want to feel like you’re wasting that time if nobody finds value in it. So we all want feedback But that, of course plays a role in our self confidence. 


one thing I’ve never liked about any les articles or things like that, on the internet, that talk about people pleasing is some of them get really self helpy and make it sound like just, it’s always about people not liking themselves. Of course, that can be part of it, we all need to have better relationships with ourselves without a doubt. But you know, I don’t think it has to be that dreary. It’s like, Oh, you don’t love yourself, it can just be you expect a lot of yourself and you don’t want to let other people down, you don’t want to let yourself down you want to live up to this idea that you have. I think that is a very relatable, natural thing to do. So, you know, I’d worry about people that have bulletproof self esteem. That’s I don’t even think the best athletes or individuals at what they do do unless they’re straight up, you know, just a clinical scale, narcissistic, we and we have an episode on this as well, your self doubt can be a really good thing. But that’s beyond the point of this episode. So that’s what a lot of those things can look like. And then as I mentioned earlier, they’re amplified by the fact that there’s tremendous ambiguity in our lives moral ambiguity when leaders face ethical dilemmas with no clear right or wrong answers all the time. Social ambiguity, we don’t know if people like us or relate to our message, we get mixed signals from people. And we’re not always very good at discerning those things. So those are really tough. All right, and you lock this in, you amplify it further, rather, by the fact that being liked and feeling included, or this sense of belonging, especially with a community. Those are basic human needs. You know, Descartes, and many others defined us as social animals. We’ve talked about this, we’re the preeminent social animal in the world. That is why, you know, being in isolation is the worst thing you can do to humans. And why I’ve talked numerous times about when you saw the COVID pandemic, you saw that social atrophy, there are tremendous ramifications, if we aren’t if we don’t feel that sense of belonging or connection. 


So, in totality, we’ve talked about some of the tension of leadership, those ambiguous aspects of fact that even if we think we’re making good decisions, there’s going to be second order consequences. It we have to, there’s this challenge of balancing likability with effective decision making. Obviously, this is a critical issue for leaders in all sectors. It’s not like one field deals with this more than others, people could say, well, that’s not true. You know, the medical field and this in the legal field, people’s lives are on the lines, well, you know, there’s a lot of interconnectedness there. People’s lives are in the lines, when those of you that have teenagers, you know, don’t know how to discern their feelings when they’re not accepted by an in group. Right, poor communication, especially internally with oneself has led to a tremendous rise in suicide. You also think from a social conditioning standpoint, you know, and this gets more into root causes. Sorry, we’ve changed gears now, is we also have this need for acceptance that’s ingrained in us at a very early, early, early age. I mean, it really is an early age, we want to fit in, we want to get along because it’s a path of least resistance. So if you’re gonna say, alright, Brett, slow down, give me some of the root causes, again, social conditioning, that need for us to be accepted at an early age, fear of conflict, we always want to maintain harmony. We don’t like difficult conversations. In those difficult conversations, you may not even act like yourself, you may not say the things that you wish you would have said, all of those things create chinks in the armor, right? Then you start realizing, man, I’m not, as competent as I thought I was. I’m not as good at blank as I thought I was, you started seeing this image of yourself crumble. And that’s, really hard. I’m a big advocate of this misconception of leadership, good or effective leadership setting us up for this. There’s this flawed belief that a great leader is universally liked or agreed with, that they’re heroic or transformational or charismatic, always in nature. I’m a big believer. And I’d love to know how many of you agree, please write to us at


I think a lot of times the most effective leader is an antihero. And I don’t mean like Deadpool somebody equipping you know, I mean, like somebody that knows that you’re not always going to be able to take the clean path. Somebody know, who knows that criticism is the name of the game, somebody that’s well aware of the cost of leadership. And they’re flawed. They’re real. They’re not always going to be able to use methods and tactics that everybody agrees with, and feel free. By the way, you can reach out to us if you don’t agree with that. But I don’t believe in this concept of heroic leadership that a lot of us in Western culture were brought up with, I think it creates a really impractical standards for what is an effective leader, which very culturally, regardless, you know, I teach this stuff for a living, I yell, I lose my temper, I do things that are uncharacteristic. You know, I don’t think that those things make you a bad leader. I think that those present opportunities for improvement, for sure. But I think that there are many, many examples of those kinds of personas in history. And by the way, I like I also love and I complement, and I’m an advocate. So I’m not trying to say you know, I’m some dictator, although some might disagree. And that’s fine. People are going to point being is good leaders, effective leaders, whatever term you want to use, have to have a balance of the light and the dark. 


If you’ve enjoyed the podcast, you’ve enjoyed some of the tips, techniques, conversations we’ve had, I just wanted to take a second to tell you more about all the other things we have at art of coaching. From live events to one to one virtual mentoring, to group mentoring and online courses. All of our outputs can help you no matter where you are in life or your leadership journey. We put an emphasis on the practical side of things. We are not here to preach. Our workshops are all very hands on and focus around experiential learning. So you get real feedback, not a bunch of death by PowerPoint, our virtual mentoring, we are able to adapt to your schedule. We’ve worked with people in over 30 professions all across the globe and we will pair you up with A coach that can give you the tough feedback you need and the encouragement that you deserve. So whether you’re looking for a mentor, whether you’re looking for an online course, whether you’re looking for an event to be a part of so you can come connect with people in real time, we got you to check us out at Again, that’s Or reach out to our team to figure out what the best fit is for you by emailing


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Good leaders, effective leaders, whatever term you want to use, have to have a balance of the light and the dark. You know why? Because that’s people. That’s people people have that insecurity and self worth, obviously, our personal insecurities can drive an excessive need for external validation. Where that comes from in your life or my life is going to be multifaceted, you know, organizational culture, I have been a part of a work environment that rewarded people pleasing behaviors. I’m sure many of you and this could be explicitly or implicitly. So and then just a sense of achievement. Right? So this is and this is going to get into if you were to say, well, Brett, if you are familiar with our larger work, what drives tend to coincide with this, because drives are the subconscious, unconscious influences of our behavior. And by the way, if you don’t know what I’m talking about, go to, we tell people to take this quiz at least three times, you’re never just going to be one drive. But your moment to moment, emotions, and all those things will influence your responses. Don’t answer in a bullshit kind of aspirational way. Don’t try to trick the system, just see what you got. But you know, three of the drives for those of you that are familiar. One is you’re gonna see achievement drives very much coinciding with people pleasing, you know, an achievement driven person has this desire to feel capable, they want to meet objectives, and they want validation for their hard work. That’s this sense of like, Oh, I did a good job. But of course, that approach can dilute your focus and your efforts, and that overall just makes you less effective. And, you know, we’re getting ready to run a workshop about a week from now. And I just called the person that’s going to help us run that we have a facilitator program where people with, you know, even if you listening, have a day job, if you’ve been to our events, and you come to a training will pay to teach all over the world. And I said just to protect his privacy, I said, Ron, you know, we’re gonna run this in this kind of way. So KPIs can be ascertained through a variety of mechanisms. But the first thing is people just need to walk away feeling like I have some clear answers and some clear things to work on. We are not ascertaining were we successful by did we get through all the slides? Or were our slides like the most amazing slides ever or? No, no, no, we’re coaching people. This is our speaker school course. People need reps. They need feedback. They need focus. That’s what they need. Okay. Right. Now I can orient that achievement there. 


Another one is unity. Unity drives look for harmonious relationships. So people pleasers, obviously can really strive to keep those relationships harmonious, which can be a reflection of that drive. But it’s also a reflection of them feeling like, hey, these people like me, I’ve created a sense of comfort, you see how that then ties in to an achievement drive. service drives, helping others, a significant part of people pleasing, can be the desire to serve or help others often at the expense of one’s own needs. And then also a security drive. And that’s represented typically through an avoidance of conflict. As we mentioned earlier, a security drive manifests those like, or sorry, the drive for security might manifest in those behaviors that are all about avoiding conflict or criticism. And if that’s taken to an extreme, that also creates issues. A core question I got at this same workshop then was, Well, do you think that some people constantly please others as a diversion tactic? I had to think about that for a minute. And I took a couple graphs, and I just said, Well, how do you mean, what do you mean by diversion tactic? And they’re like, Well, you mentioned how some of these things are our internal, that’s why we’re people pleasers. You know, are we trying to divert from going inward and facing the real issue? I’m no therapist, but I am a human. And I have studied this stuff and researched it relentlessly. So what I said is, you know, yeah, I using people pleasing as a divergent tactic is a very, I mean, it’s nuanced. But it is significant. And in the sense that it serves a lot of psychological purposes. For one, if we’re constantly agreeable, that in and of itself is a form of deflection. It’s a way to divert attention away from your needs, your own shortcomings, your own unresolved issues, or you don’t want to be in the spotlight, even maybe, because you don’t want to be perceived as somebody, let’s say, for example, you know, when we were talking to some friends around a fire, and I was like, you know, I don’t want to talk about me anymore. Let’s talk about you. You know, I had been talking for a while, so I had shared another person there was like, you know, I say that a lot, too. But I typically say that because I don’t want the attention on me. Because I feel like I’m always one moment away from saying something stupid and ruining people’s, you know, perception of me. And he, you know, he said, like, truth and jest. But it was really a suit. A lot of times, it can seem like humility, or it’s not about me and whatever. But you’re really deflecting, you know, and so ask yourself, Are you trying? Are you nervous? That you know, something’s gonna come up? Or that if people find out too much about you, that they’re not gonna like you? What is that? You know, what is that if you don’t self disclose, or you don’t give yourself because you don’t want to get to the point where you’re sidestepping having to confront your own challenges, or make tough decisions, or be the one that says something that needs to be said. Because really what that does, and sometimes that kind of excessive humility, if we look at it from that angle, too, because I know that this is where I have to speak to those of you that are really good at believing in your own stuff. You might be like, no, no, no, it is actual humility. And I’m not doubting that. But think about like, too much of that creates this smokescreen of competence, and amiability. You know, like, now, all of a sudden, you develop this reputation for being helpful and agreeable. And you attach to that, but that can also mask areas where you’re just on performing lacking or incompetent. And it’s almost like you start working on other people, and the way that you would work on yourself. 


I’ll say that again. Sometimes people that are extreme people pleasers, they’ll pour all this energy into helping other people, in the same way that they really want to help themselves. But they feel so uncomfortable with putting that spotlight on themselves. It’s like easier to channel it into other people, in a way. And this is meant to sound goofy, it’s kind of like, you remember that game called The Sims, you could have this like little character, and you could get them really smart and skilled at their job. And that was a fun game, because you get to do all these things. But it was almost like some people would spend more time working on their Sims character than they would them. You know, and so people pleasing isn’t always what it seems, you know, you’re not focusing on yourself. But you know, at the end of the day, you need to be focusing on yourself. And that in and of itself, makes it kind of a control mechanism. And that can seem counterintuitive, you know, but by constantly catering to others whims and needs, you’re gaining a sense of control over your environment, and in a way, even over the people that you’re pleasing. Because some people and I’m not saying you, right? There’s so many aspects of people pleasing. So just think with me here for a minute and think objectively, and even subjectively, because you know, somebody like this, there are some people that will use people pleasing as a means for others to become reliant on them, you know, others become reliant on their agreeableness, their praise, that only reinforces that person’s role, and their perceived value. And this is why, you know, the true hallmark of a great coach, even though all coaches need coaches, and I mean that, in the context of every profession is people eventually should need you the same way they used to, they should learn certain principles, but if people are reliant on you, and they keep coming back to you, because all you give them is praise, I mean, think there’s people that make billions of dollars off of that, that’s a lot of that self help industry


You know, they’re gonna give you non stop self affirming messages. Because that, that even decreases the chance you have to look inward. And now you love this person’s work, oh, my God, when in reality, they’re kind of making you feel comfortable. So anyway, just something to think about. Of course, you know, there’s virtue and vice and all these things, we want to make people feel good, we want to feel good, all those pieces. But you can’t just go through life doing things that make you feel good all the time. I mean, we’ve heard enough about that with dopamine and social media and every other advice, you know, that people have. So you have to make sure you’re using this as a shield, rather than a genuine like leadership quality, especially when you know, it’s not sustainable. So you don’t want to run from yourself. You’re with me. 


Alright, so let’s get practical advice and strategies for recognizing, you know, really when the need to be liked is driving your decisions, because that’s what it is, once again, it’s the desire to be liked, and feel validated. And there’s normalcy to that. But you also gotta know when to cut it. So some simple things you can do is just self awareness checks, ask yourself, like, why am I making this decision? Is it for me? Or is it for somebody else’s approval? Is it for me? Or is it somebody else’s approval, and that doesn’t matter whether it’s about allocating resources, or even you know, if you’re a teenager, or somebody in your 20s, or 30s, or whatever, let’s get into this. And somebody asks you to go to a concert? And you’re like, Yeah, but you really don’t want to? Is it? Because you’re scared that that person is not gonna like you, if you don’t go? Have you turned them down a bunch before? You know, some of you might not even be able to answer that question. And that’s fine. Use this as an opportunity. Just be like, why can I tell? Tiffany? No. Why can’t Why? Why did I say yes to this? Again? I know I have a deadline. I know I have this. And it’s like, Oh, you want to make? You know, I don’t know. Do you not want to make somebody else feel lonely? Do you want them to feel valued? Is that you don’t feel valued? We’re not gonna get Freudian here. But is it for you? Or is it for somebody else’s approval? If it’s for both cool, then like, go do it. Right, but like, make it a habit to pause? Before you say yes to everything. If you’re on the fence, give yourself permission time to think that say, let’s think about it. You know, and for those of you whether it’s hiring or firing, that’s going to be a piece there, too. Nobody wants to do that stuff. Nobody wants to let somebody go or fire somebody. I mean, unless they’ve done something exceptionally crass. But I remember the first time I ever let somebody go, I’m sitting here thinking like, man, you’d feel like you have the rug pulled out of you, to a degree like, this person is going to feel bamboozled, this person is going to feel this. And no, like, to a degree, no amount of explanation, can ever soften that, to the point where, there’s no perfect thing to say, when that happens, because that person is often not going to hear it anyway. Because it’s a shock. But the reality is, is every business has to make decisions. They have to make decisions about those things. They have to say, hey, where do we really need to reallocate this? Where do we need to do that? So whether it’s breaking up with somebody, whether it’s letting somebody go, whether it’s saying yes to a concert, you at least need to reflect? Because remember, what did I say at the beginning that one quote, if you spend your life pleasing others you spend your life. And so I remember just, I mean, that was advice that I got the first time I let somebody go, I was like, Man, I don’t want to put this person in this kind of situation. And my friend said, Well, what kind of situation are you going to be in? You know, if you let it continue to go on? Do you think that they’re worrying about that is much, you know, something, all of a sudden, like, this is just life, you know, these things are gonna, they’re going to happen. 


Another piece that’s related with that is gauge your emotional state. If you are feeling insecure, drained, or down before making a decision, especially to please others. That’s a huge issue. So are you feeling insecure down or drained? Because that emotional vulnerability, or just that feeling of being in the dumps when your confidence is inherently not going to be high? that increases your need to be light force multiplier. So if you’re feeling emotionally vulnerable, drained down, try to refrain from making significant decisions. Wait until you can evaluate that situation at least somewhat more objectively, that is something I had to work on a good bit, a good bit because I am very much aspects of me or a Wolverine. So I have to take a step back, and I’m a lot better at it than I used to, like, I’ve gotten a lot better at trusting my gut, and that just came from inevitably having to make some more enemies. Right, like, you’re gonna have to make enemies. It is not, you are not successful, if everybody likes you, you’re not. And you know that you’re making lukewarm decisions. You’re not doing anything with real risk, or real consequences. I’ve been thinking about my next book, there’s so much that I mean, I could make this thing 500 pages. But I have to make it like, you know, 280 to 300 pages, I can’t get into the science of everything. We’re trying to write it for a broader audience, but also go deep enough that, you know, our audience of critical thinkers likes it. But I also know that if this book becomes a massive success, that certain people just won’t like me because of that. And there are certain people that are going to be passionate about certain subjects, that I’m not going to be able to go deep on in the book, and then they’re going to be like, well, that doesn’t make me feel good. I wish you would have talked about that subject. I don’t like you. And there’s gonna be other ones that are like, Yo, man, Holy shit, that really hit with me. And that was like the decision I had to make. So for any of you, doing significant kind of creative endeavors, and all those endeavors are significant. It doesn’t have to be a book, right is like, can be a podcast, it can be a tweet, it can be whatever, because we’ve had, you know, we had a great guests on here prior that was like, I’m scared to tweet because you know, I don’t want that push back. You know, your job is to get your information out there, to a broader audience to help more people. So by definition, you’re gonna have to make trade offs, and somebody’s gonna feel some kind of way. So that is another way of just recalibrating your decision making like you have to assess the long term consequences of your decision. If I went down the rabbit hole, every single thing I want the audience to know, in my next book. Well, by definition, I’m alienating a broader audience, because not everybody’s gonna want to go that deep. Not everybody is going to want to go that deep. Now at the same time, I’m not writing some bullshit parable only book that doesn’t give you any real thoughts are like, and I don’t know if I agree with that, or that’s, yeah, that’s interesting. I got to think about that. Well, that lead to resentment over commitment and trust. And I wouldn’t talk to you guys about this stuff. If I wasn’t doing it. I’ve got to think about it. In this book, I’ve got to have this science of this construct. I’ve got to have enough stories. I want big overarching stories. So they see how this played out in history. But I’ve got to have everyday examples. There’s no way I can answer every question, you know, because my editor is like, why don’t you put like common questions at the end of each chapter? And I’m like, man, because those are pretty nuanced. I can’t do that plus this. And they’re like, oh, yeah, now I get it. You just can’t please, everybody. So what is the long term consequences create a pros and cons list for that decision? Right? I would rather lose the support of some absolutist and purists due to the fact that I’ve got to simplify and streamline some things, you know, and get to a broader audience. At the same time, I’m never gonna sell out. I’m never going to sell out in totality, and just be like, Nope, I’m not going to ask people to think critically, I’m not going to write anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. I’m not going to write anything or say anything that doesn’t make them second guess or, you know, whatever. No, like, that’s, that’s not okay. I understand there’s limits, I understand. I have to put boundaries around things you do to and communicate them clearly. you nor I are for everybody. And that is a strength. Coming to the dark side. It’s more fun here. 


So when it comes to boundaries, let’s talk about that. People that are for you are gonna get over it. I’m just gonna be really practical. I can tell you to use a sort of yet polite language like, hey, Gerald, I appreciate the offer. But I can’t commit to this right now. Or, Hey, Jim, I’d love to, but I’m not able to give it the attention it deserves. There’s a million ways we can do that. We can do a whole podcast on that. I just try to be straight with folks. I say, Hey, I understand that this may be upsetting. But I can’t do this right now because I’m underwater, and I need to get some core priorities taken care of, if they don’t understand and they can’t respect that. Screw them. Life short folks. Most highly professional people I know, are busy and of things going on in competing demands. And as long as you’re not rude, they’re going to understand there’s always going to be examples where that’s not the case. I tell people again and again Hey, I’m trying to get this book done and this torture done, I am not a fun person right now. I am not, you know, there’s no easy way to do hard things. And to a degree, it’s an unhealthy kind of final push. But this is what it takes. Right? And there are gonna be some people that understand that not if they don’t I keep those receipts I do I keep those receipts. So you just have to think you have to know your limits. You do have to know your limits. And if you don’t know your limits, put a limits and values list on your phone. glance over it the minute somebody’s like, Hey, man, do a creepy voice here just because I think it’s fun. Hey, Denise, want to go see the fireworks is evening just like look it up. You might love fireworks, you might love the dude with a creepy voice. It’s asking you to go see fireworks, but just look it up and be like, I mean, what are my values? Were okay, I’ve done things the last three nights? No, no, I can’t do this. That’s fine. And if none of this is working, if you’re like that doesn’t work, that doesn’t work that I’m still struggling, then consult with somebody else say, Hey, I have a tendency to be a people pleaser. Here’s the situation. Here’s other contexts, what do you think? Right? And don’t call somebody who’s gonna tell you what you want to hear. Right? Don’t just be like I, you know, matter of fact, say that be like, I don’t want you to just tell me what I want to hear. So whether you use a three second rule before saying yes, putting up boundaries, your values in your phone, another person said, use your breath as a timer, inhale and exhale ones. That’s usually about three seconds. That can be brief, but incredibly revealing. That’s where like, you know, some of the viewers will be like, Oh, you’re gonna get oxygenated blood is gonna help your synapses and check your calendar, all these things, 


The thing that I also use a lot right now is a pre emptive No, I met a communicate, I just say, Hey, before we get into it, just want to say this, you know, here’s the reality, I’m going to give you the best that I can. And I’ll give you a very specific context, when I do this workshop coming up. Because this is where I was the worst. I just tell people right out of the gate, hey, we’re in for two days of a deep dive, there’s inherently going to be times where the conversation goes somewhere else, I adapt all this content, so that I can meet you where you’re at. So we’re not going to get through everything, because you’re not going to need to get through everything. I’m going to meet you where you’re at, I’m going to give you a lot of resources. But you have to take accountability of your results too. And this is the golden nugget I’m giving you listening, you need to understand that there is accountability on the other person’s side. It is not just up to you. It is not up to you. And I say that to the person that reached out there was a physical therapist was having a lot of trouble charging for what they felt like they were worth because they were scared. What if I don’t give this person the results they need? And I said man that is a god complex? And they said, What? What do you mean, it’s a god complex? I’m worried. I’m not going to get them results. I don’t think I’m God. And I go, Yeah, that’s a god complex for you to think that you’re the only one responsible for getting your Client Results. To the degree that you won’t charge what you believe your time is worth, given how much you’ve invested in yourself. That’s ridiculous. And he goes, holy shit. I never thought of it like that. And I hate myself for that. And I’m like, no, no, you don’t need to hate yourself. I’m just being real with you like, from somebody that literally I’d shoulder the load for everybody. I’m like, no, no, if you’ve listened to this whole podcast, and you didn’t get anything from it, that’s your fault. There’s at least one thing, if you don’t even like me, and you haven’t learned one thing for me, that’s your fault. True leaders can learn from everybody and vice versa, right? There’s even people on my team knows this. I’m like, Ah, that person stuff isn’t for me. But I can still learn from them. There’s people that I don’t, they’re professional contents, not for me, I may love them as a person. That’s okay. You can hold two things in your heart at once. Two things can be true at once. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from being in a business, and you don’t need to own a fortune 500 business for this to for you to know that you don’t have to own a big business a small you don’t have to own, you just have to know like you if you work with people, you need to remind yourself that part of that accountability is on them. It is not your job to give everybody all the answers. Because even if you did, they’d have to implement them. And we tell people that all the time, too. That’s why you know, the communication side of things. It’s like I give you a book of how to communicate and build trust with everybody. I mean, we have that stuff out there. Go to There you go. There’s a whole thing on building trust. But if you don’t implement it correctly, or the other person you know, doesn’t try to meet you where they’re at. Well, that’s a problem. So that’s a huge piece. There is, understand that accountability is a two way street, it is not all on you. And if you still feel like it is, do some work on yourself, figure out, why is it that it’s never enough for me? Why do I never feel good enough? And don’t just go to like, you know, childhood trauma. I understand that’s valid for some of you. And I’m not making light of that, despite the tone of my voice. I just think that that’s gotten really popular to the point now where you can almost make people believe anything and look that up. That’s a real thing. By the way, a lot of psychiatrists, psychologists got fired and sued. Because all of this repressed memory stuff that really wasn’t happening, people are very impressionable. So just cut your stuff like for me, any desire to people, please, as I said earlier, was just this desire to feel like, Man, I put a lot of time and effort into this, I want to be like, I’m competitive with myself, I want to know that I’m getting better because I need that I do need to feel like, I’m not wasting this opportunity that God’s given me. And whatever you believe in, I need to feel like I didn’t go through life wasting my effort. So I want to know that it’s better because I make sacrifices like you do. I make sacrifices to be away from my family, I make sacrifices. I’m recording this podcast instead of working out right now. I decided to do this because somebody reached out to me, I’m like, You know what? The emotion is real. It’s gotta be real right? Now. You don’t want to feel like it’s for naught. Because at the end of it all, nobody wants to go to bed at night feeling like, does anybody given shit about me? Or my work? Am I even good at what I do? Is any of it worth anything? And here’s my answer to all those things. The answer is no, no, no, no, no, no, no, like, you’re not good at what you do. Your work is not worth anything and all that. If you aren’t trying. If you aren’t trying, you’re wasting your time. But trying and being perfect, or pleasing, everybody are very different things I trying is not negotiable. Effort is not negotiable. Right? Those things aren’t up for debate. So as long as you are trying, and you have a mission, and you have some kind of or you have some kind of clear vision, right? Know that not everybody’s gonna like you for it. Because that vision is not for everybody. So you just have to figure out this alignment. Figure out where that alignment is, but you know, you can’t pour from an empty cup. So if you’re drained because you’re constantly bending over backwards to please others, what’s left for your team, your family, yourself. Hmm. Like because you’re every time you give something to somebody else, you’re taking it away. That’s opportunity cost. That’s opportunity cost. That is. And that’s we’ve talked about it a million times in my online course Valued, and whenever that’s why airplane say airlines say put your mask on first. You don’t not going to help. So principles over popularity, you know, adopt first and second principles thinking in your decision making quick getting lost in what ifs? What’s the core truth here? Make decisions based on those cornerstones adapt or die? The world is not static, neither should you or your leadership style. So you can’t just be this chameleon that changes colors all the time to please a crowd. Yes, that’s a part of contextual competence, but not to the point that it takes everything away from who you are.


You’ve got to update those mental frameworks, you’ve got to become that antihero. Because that kind of continuous evolution isn’t just a survival tactic. That’s the mark of a thriving and all of you that, you know, give me a hard time. Oh, you mentioned the Dark Knight a lot, whatever. I mean, yeah, that’s, it says at the end of it, this is what I need to be. I need to be the antihero because like that’s what leadership is about. It’s standing stead. Like, how do I stand steadfast in these turbulent, ever churning waters of opinions that everybody else is going to have these conflicting interests, just plant your feet, plant your feet on your principles, find firm ground and realize that you’ve got to move forward. That is so much of what that’s about and the term that I want you to lock in on as we end this is ruthless compassion. Ruthless compassion, do your best. But move forward. Regardless that accountability is a two way street. To a degree people are responsible for their own success and their happiness, the people you serve, and you as well. You do not need to be perfect or please everybody to be of use and be value. You are, I don’t want to I gotta be careful I say this. It is your flaws that make you unique, and your work. It is your boundaries that makes you valuable, because it allows you to hone and budget those resources, then you can pick your shots. You have to have sustainability. When I trained athletes, we’d say all the most important ability is availability. The most important ability for you as a leader, as a person as a human, is sustainability and adaptability. I hope this helped. Like I said, if these resonate, if this stuff resonates with you at all, go to Get on the waitlist, we’re going to be talking a lot more about this. I don’t want to spoil anything. I promise. By the way, for those of you that are looking at this next book, I am putting my money where my mouth is, I’ve invested so much time and energy, it is not going to please everybody, this is going to be a counterintuitive book, it is going to piss some people very much off. Because it’s going to spit in the face of what we think is really good leadership and the standard that we’ve held ourselves to, but it’s going to do so not because I think it’s cool or avant garde, but because I think it’s a more pragmatic approach to lead today. Whether that leading is with your family, your business, whatever. I appreciate all of you please share this with a friend. 


Until next time for myself and the rest of the team. This is the art of coaching podcast we wish you well.

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