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Resisting the Need to People Please

December 12, 2023

No one respects a leader without firm convictions.

It’s hard to feel inspired by the politician who uses the latest polling data to make their decisions. It’s difficult to follow the business leader whose mission and vision seems to change every year. It’s frustrating to hear about the celebrity pastor who changes his beliefs on every hot topic in order to stay relevant to the culture. 

No one wants to follow a leader who is tossed around by every new fad. 

Yet, I often find myself making decisions based on what other people think. 

It’s certainly not wrong to care about other people. It’s a good quality to be aware of their needs, desires, and preferences. And when you can make the right decision and it pleases people, that’s a win-win.

However, it’s detrimental to make the opinions of others the sole basis of your decisions. 

Margaret Thatcher once said, “If you just set out to be liked, you will be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and will achieve nothing.”


If you’re like me and care deeply about what others are saying, I want to give you three tools I use to combat my people-pleasing tendencies: 

1) Ask yourself what you believe is true about this situation. Push past your feelings and focus on the facts. Don’t automatically take someone else’s word for it. You have your own worldview, mission, and vision for the future. If you’re operating within your calling and convictions, you should keep moving forward.

2) Consider the real implications of your decisions. What’s going to really happen when you act against another person’s opinion? Most of the time, it’s not going to matter nearly as much as you think it will. If this person means a lot to you and cares about you, it’s likely they will forgive you even if they disagree with your decision. If this person is always critical of your leadership, what does one more frustration subtract from your relationship? Even if you please them in this situation, it’s unlikely they’ll move into your camp. Keep a realistic perspective of your relationships. 

3) Turn down the noise. Stay focused on your end goal. What are you working toward? If your critics are coming from social media or from your inbox, take a break. Put your phone away. Find some time alone. And remind yourself of why you do what you do.

I believe that each of us have a calling on our lives. We have been put on this earth for a purpose. If you are constantly worried about what everyone thinks, you could miss out on accomplishing the purpose for which you were created.

The world needs you, and your work is important. Today, I want to challenge you to focus on the task at hand and make thoughtful decisions based on what you are put here to accomplish . . . not the approval of others. 


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