“Get comfortable with saying “This isn’t going to work for me”,” Lisa Bilyeu. People pleasers cringe simultaneously. In a world where we all have expectations put upon us from how we should behave to the jobs we have to how many children we should have and by whom, it’s hard to know which way to go if you don’t have a solid foundation in self. The idea of letting anyone down for any reason can be daunting because we fear that they will cut us off or that we hurt them. I like this quote because it reminds us that it is ok to let others down every now and then. There will absolutely come a point in all of our lives where we will have to make the decision to continue making other people happy in the hope of reward or if we will follow our own path into what we know works for us.
In the piece on boundaries from earlier this week, I discussed the guilt I felt at both saying no to my child and in only taking on what I could reasonably do at work. In the moment I felt like I let everyone down. I felt like if I had shuffled things differently, maybe I could have done more. But the more I thought about it, the truth is that these people haven’t stopped what they are doing to bring my teams up to speed so I have the time to help them. That isn’t to say they haven’t helped me before—they absolutely have. But I’ve respected their limits and this was a moment where they weren’t respecting mine. The fact that they didn’t take the time to address the issue where it belonged (a mistake with IT), they assumed everyone would jump in to fix it.
Now that a week has passed, I am more comfortable with what happened. I am more comfortable approaching the group and letting them know that we need to look at these situations differently. I am also more comfortable standing on my own two feet and letting them know exactly where I stand with my teams. I was thrown into the fire with 2/3 of my teams because I was NOT hired to oversee them. I had to dive in and learn their roles and learn how to lead them—and I did it. I’ve learned these groups from the ground up and I don’t need to defend what I do. If it isn’t logistically or physically possible, my peers can be angry. That’s on them. I will no longer seek to find the time that doesn’t exist in the day when I have other people who need my support.
We all know we are only human. We also know the expectations placed upon us aren’t realistic at times. I love the quote by Eleanor Roosevelt that says, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.” It’s beautiful because it reminds us to keep our aspirations high. The problem is when those aspirations become standards that we can’t meet and, even worse, when that becomes someone else’s expectation. We aren’t here to perform for others and we aren’t here to fulfill their expectations. We don’t need permission to say that something is out of our scope and we need to remind each other that everyone’s experiences are different. We also don’t need to continue to perform, trying to make other people think we can do so much with less. I’m not diminishing our resourcefulness, but there has to be a monitoring of those expectations. So set the boundary. Admit what will and will not work and don’t be afraid to stick with it. You will feel all the better for it and with more practice it will become second nature.