4 “Good Things” You Do that are Actually Sneaky Self-Sabotages in Disguise

photo credit: Ani Paoletti Creative

A few months ago I was journaling (and wiping away tears) after a particularly rough and eye-opening session with my coach. I’d just realized that a core element of people-pleasing still dictated my life and was causing some major self-sabotage in the business I was building.

I could rationalize it 100 ways though.

The mind chattered:

“It’s beneficial to live like this! ‘Strategic’ even! This has always, always served me… and it’s actually holding me back?”

Do you know the core element I’m talking about? (I bet you share it)

That good old…. need to be liked.

On the surface, it makes sense. I’m charming to people, and can’t tell you how often this leads to extra goodies in restaurants, getting picked for stand-by on flights, and upgrades while traveling. I’m friendly and likeable, and people frequently say they enjoy being around me and feel supported in my presence.

Plus, I’m a coach and a business owner… so I need people to like me to do business. Know LIKE Trust… it’s right there….

How on earth is this holding me back?

After paying attention to my mind chatter, I noticed something underneath these thoughts as it shifted a bit deeper to:

“This is my identity. I’ve always been bubbly, optimistic, friendly, and I thought this was me… but it’s actually a learned response? Who am I without this part?

Therein lies the problem.

Being liked became identity and another person was required for worthiness.

I started noticing how this dangerously played out in my life. All these “character traits” that I revered and thought made me “a good person” were actually deeply damaging (especially to my business).

I share these not to shame you if you have them (because I saw them first in myself), but rather to give you the gift of awareness. So that the next time one of these old wool sweaters of people-pleasing comfort slips on, you can say: “No thank you, I prefer cashmere.”

1. You are super flexible, adaptable, and responsive to other people’s needs

Does this sound like you?

You’re empathic and pretty tuned into the needs of those around you. You can often feel when something is off with someone and you’re great at adapting to the energies of those around you. This makes you an awesome listening ear and compassionate friend, but may lead you to shirk into the shadows when it comes to expressing what you need.

You’d hate for anyone to think of you as selfish, so you don’t often voice your needs unless it’s really important.

I call this style of people-pleasing the Over-Empath.

Some examples of how this behavior sabotages your business:

EX 1.
You’ve been trying to meet with this client for weeks. They did their first 2 sessions, but the last 3 weeks they’ve cancelled and rescheduled at the last minute. They just emailed to move this week’s session.

Your Over-Empath side says: “No problem! I’m super flexible and want to accommodate them.”

EX 2.
You’re on a discovery call with a potential client and you’ve just told them all about the program and how much it is. They respond that they aren’t sure they need that many sessions, or all those topics, and start suggesting cutting it in half and making it cheaper.

Your Over-Empath side says: “No worries! Let’s scrap it and build custom! They know what they need.”

I used to be exactly like this (and I wore it like a badge of honor — Look how likeable and accommodating I am!)

These days, I’m all about giving grace to others (sometimes the program isn’t the right fit and it’s not the right time) but I have a firm boundary on the extent of that grace.

I operate my business beyond people-pleasing now, so in terms of the examples above, I hold the Highest Vision for my clients so when someone reschedules multiple times, I put a check-in call on the calendar ASAP. And I trust my programs and have created them intentionally for transformation and will not rebuild the wheel each time to be flexible.

You are allowed to put your foot down and stand up for what you want.

It is not your job to keep everyone else happy (especially if you’re running a business) and repeatedly compromising your needs reinforces the idea that you are inferior.

Check out my Over-Empath IG reel here.

2. You are super helpful and will drop everything to help friends or family in need

This is a “Good Thing” that you’ve likely been contending with and living by since childhood. This is the idea that “it’s nice to be helpful.” How often were you celebrated as a child for helping out in the classroom or at home? You were very likely taught that being helpful and nice equaled love and praise.

If you stood up for yourself and expressed a desire not to share your toy, or not to play with that classmate or cousin, you may have been shamed or punished. Not being helpful or doing what people asked suddenly equaled being called selfish, not nice, or rude and uncomfortable emotions ensued.

Then, add on the element of “family” and all the responsibilities included… and being helpful gets this weird, bittersweet flavor of spoken and unspoken expectation.

You find yourself wanting to say no, but not feeling “allowed to.” You struggle to steal a second for yourself and protecting your free time and boundaries is next to impossible.

I call this style of people-pleasing the Over-Achiever

Some examples of how this behavior sabotages your business:

EX 1.
You’re finally stealing away some time to work on your new project… and your partner asks if you want to put the bookshelves together.

Not wanting to turn down a loved one who needs you, your Over-Achieving side grabs the drill (and spends the next 5+ years resenting those bookshelves).

EX 2.
You’ve been looking forward to this juicy chunk of self-care time coming up, you got a bath bomb and everything…. and your client sends you her website to review.

Not wanting her to think you don’t care about her, your Over-Achieving side grabs your laptop (and you grumpily type edits in your bathrobe, edging closer to burnout).

EX 3.
You’re in the headspace to finally do that project you’ve been putting off (seriously, when are you ever in the mood to do this kind of stuff!)… and your friend calls about meeting for lunch (and just dropped by because “you work from home”)

Needing to “be a good friend”, your Over-Achieving side gets ready to go out for lunch (and resents this friend and the lack of boundaries in the relationship until you eventually explode at them)

This “good” thing feels so helpful though. Often you get the feel-good hit of making someone else happy… but after awhile, doing this at the expense of your own needs will catch up.

Think about it, when you step away from your focus, how sparkly are you? Are you immediately amped and fully into it? Is there any resentment lingering from the sacrifice? How is the relationship going forward?

It is not your job to keep everyone else happy (especially if you’re running a business) and repeatedly compromising your needs reinforces the idea that you are inferior.

Check out my Over-Achiever IG reel here.

3. You love feedback and research and asking other people for their input

This is one of the most prevalent and sneakiest sabotages there is. I struggled with it for YEARS and constantly watch myself to avoid slipping into it because it seems like such a good idea.

The “research” phase is part of most projects. Whether you’re buying a car, looking at a software, choosing a coach, picking a travel destination, or starting a business… it is helpful to know what is out there and to get a sense of the landscape. It makes sense to learn from the mistakes of others, and to get insights about best practices. There are SCORES of “magic solutions” out there and entire industries dedicated to solving your problem.

When this research lands you in analysis paralysis, or you find yourself discrediting your own intuition and genius, you’re inching closer to a problem.

I call this style of people-pleasing the Self-Doubter.

Some examples of how this behavior sabotages your business:

EX 1.
You’re thinking about hosting a workshop… and your Self-Doubter says: “Who would listen to you with only a BA? Get more certifications. You’re such an imposter.”

EX 2.
You’re interested in launching a new offer… and your Self-Doubter says: “Download everyone else’s freebies. Start reading articles. There has to be a formula. Find what worked for 5 people and take the commonalities.”

EX 3.
You’re trying to figure out what makes you and your story unique… and your Self-Doubter says: “What do other people think? Survey 10 of your friends. Ask your partner to describe you. Call your family.”

Like I said… this sabotage FEELS SO GOOD. It feels right. There is a balance of education and capital-K intuitive Knowing though. You can’t deny your own ideas or the things that pop into your head. You are worthy of sharing your opinions. Other people are not more deserving (even if they have more success, money, degrees, certifications, or acclaim).

If the big-box program’s strategy of going passive and selling to the masses, while removing all personal interaction with clients doesn’t feel good… then that’s okay and it’s not for you! Even if they have a million dollar business… they are not “better” than you and choosing a different path doesn’t make you wrong.

You’re allowed to have values, beliefs, and ideas about how to build your business. Don’t deny the genius you have or that comes to you.

It is not your job to keep everyone else happy (especially if you’re running a business) and repeatedly compromising your needs reinforces the idea that you are inferior.

Check out my Self-Doubter IG reel here.

4. You have transcended conflict and quickly move on from uncomfortable feelings because they’re unnecessary

This one was the hardest for me because it was deep rooted in some childhood trauma. I fell into a bit of “jester” role throughout life, immediately cracking jokes or being silly in the face of discomfort or conflict.

I didn’t have a great handle on dealing with uncomfortable feelings like sadness or anger. Since I also fall into the Over-Empath category above, I took a lot of responsibility for the feelings of those around me. This coupling played out as making it my job to get us from sad-to-happy in record time.

I would tell myself all sorts of things to make the sad-to-happy jump.

Things like:

“They didn’t mean that in that hurtful way. It’s strategic to just jump to problem-solving. Bad feelings feel bad, no thank you. No reason to linger there. Discomfort serves no purpose.”

I call this style of people-pleasing the Conflict Avoider.

Some examples of how this behavior sabotages your business:

EX 1.
Someone trolls you on social media… you immediately jump to: “I need to delete what I posted. I shouldn’t post again. I don’t want to start anything.”

EX 2.
A friend constantly hurts your feelings, puts you down, and tells you what you should do… you decide: “Oh… she doesn’t mean it like that! She’s just being helpful.”

EX 3.
A client keeps repeating a limiting belief on a call… you rationalize: “I won’t call that out. She’ll learn that holds her back eventually. I don’t want upset her or make it uncomfortable.”

Hate to be the bearer of this news (because it was a doozy for me as well)…

You don’t need to be high-vibe all the time. No one is asking you to be the crusader of bad feelings to “keep the peace.”

Sometimes you’ll say something on social media and someone will troll you and leave a mean comment, but you don’t need to engage with them (or stop sharing your Highest Purpose). When you ignore your hurt feelings (and claim it doesn’t bother you) you bypass yourself and deny what you are experiencing. And sometimes (especially in the transformative work you’re doing!) holding uncomfortable space is necessary. In your role of holding the Highest Vision for your clients, you may have to challenge them and push back against their limiting beliefs and comfort zone.

It is not your job to keep everyone else happy (especially if you’re running a business) and repeatedly compromising your needs reinforces the idea that you are inferior.

Check out my Conflict-Avoider IG reel here.

So, there you have it. The vicious core of people-pleasing (the need to be liked), and the 4 sneaky ways you are sabotaging yourself in your effort to “be a good person.”

If this has you throwing your hands up and wondering what to do next, first start by committing to awareness. The next time you recognize one of these old behaviors popping up, take a second to notice your reaction, and then choose your response.

And then confirm your people-pleasing type by taking the quiz at https://poppylead.com/quiz and drop your email to automatically get my Healing Your People-Pleasing at the Deepest Level guided meditation in your inbox.

If this resonated for you and you want to see more people-pleasing content for entrepreneurs, drop some claps and a comment.



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