Always Trying to Please Others? Stop. Managing Your Image Costs.

Performing for others

Performance (always trying to please others) takes up huge amounts of emotional energy and time. Live your own life, not the life you think others want you to live.

Be the authentic you. Others will either accept you or distance themselves from you, but that’s about them, not at all about you.

Being the real you will allow you to follow your own schedule. It will allow you to say “No” more often and to say “Yes” to more of the things you enjoy and can make a great contribution to. That spells real freedom.

Performers hesitate. They lose time because they are waiting for the signals they need to perform for those who control them. Often they don’t even know they are doing it. Are you a performer? For whom? Purposely stop performing and start living your own life.

"If you want for yourself the abilities or qualities you see in someone, go after them because they will make you a better you, not because they might somehow earn you someone else's life. Make them part of your life and express them as only you can."

Dr. Sidney Simon, Getting Unstuck

Five Days of Coaching to Stop Always Trying to Please Others


Today answer one really big question: do you feel valuable? On what is your sense of personal value built? Because of who you are? Because of what you do? Because of your creation in the image of God? Something else? This will determine so much moving forward. Set your bearings straight.

The Coach asks:

  • Do you feel valuable? What criteria do you use to determine your sense of personal value?  
  • How does your estimate of your own worth influence whether or not you try to manage your image for those at work? 
  • These are big questions. How are you with considering them? How important do you believe it is to take care of this aspect of your life? How committed do you feel right now? 
  • What do you believe it is that causes you to try perform in a certain way? It may vary for different people or groups, so consider each separately. 


Take today to assess how much you perform for others. Are you the real deal? Are you a 'what you see is what you get' person and leader? It's time to be brutally honest. How much of your life is spent managing your image for other people? Determine to let go of the need to perform for anybody.  Be the authentic, great you.

The Coach asks: 

  • Are you a "what you see is what you get" leader? What do you think your key team around you would say about this? What do you think might happen if you ask them? Would you ask them?
  • Think about the great qualities God gave you as an individual. List some of them, and be thankful for them.
  • How precisely have you adapted your behavior in the effort to try please others? Who? When does this most often happen? 
  • What would be involved in showing up as the "real you?" What's at risk? What might be gained? How would it affect how you think of yourself? 


Don't carry out anybody else's mission for them today. It's theirs. They have to live it. Similarly, carry out your own mission today. It is yours. Nobody else can live it for you.

The Coach asks:

  • What is today's "mission" for you? 
  • What is actually somebody else's task, assignment or mission, that you might be doing? Let them carry it. Be prepared for their possible push-back, and trying to put it back on you. 
  • How does it feel to focus exclusively on what is yours?


Sometimes those who hesitate lose. Don't wait for your cues from someone else today. Be bold. Step up and speak first if necessary. Put in your request without wondering whether or not others think you should or shouldn't. If you are confident that you are acting with integrity and passion, step forward.

The Coach asks:

  • What does stepping up and being the first entail for you? 
  • Try work and lead throughout the day without waiting for someone else's cue. What do you notice?
  • What does stepping up "in the courage of your convictions" mean to you? How can you do more of this? 
  • As a leader, how does this greater boldness and assertiveness affect your team? How are they responding? What does this tell you?


Everyone can grow. Take today to think further abou your own personal development plan. What are those things you would like to concentrate on that define personal or professional growth for you? Start working on it now. Enjoy the freedom to change and grow.

The Coach asks:

  • Your personal and professional growth is about you. No one can do it for you. And even though your job may require you attend to certain areas of development, the choice to be intentional about it or not, is yours. Where do YOU want to grow?
  • Others may be "squeezing you into a mould" in order to satisfy their agenda. If you are collaboratively engaged with that, it works fine. But .. where do you need to step out? Maybe you can go further than the path seems to dictate right now? Always trying to please others isn't the best path. Chart your own course.
  • What will you do this day, this week, this month, to further stop always trying to please others, and make big strides that answer to the desires of your heart? 
  • Pause and be grateful for the freedom to change and grow, and for the strides you have made throughout life. 

Spiritual Reflection for Christian Leaders

Gary Wood Christian Executive Leadership Coach

As a Christian Executive Leadership Coach I encourage Christian leaders to reflect on God's Word to add to their wisdom.

  • 1 Sa 16:7  But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
  • Pr 4:23  Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
  • Heb 6:10  God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 
  • Mt 22:39  Love your neighbor as yourself.
  • Gal 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. 

If you are a leader, executive, or senior level professional looking to work with a Christian Executive Coach, I invite you to connect with me here.

If appropriate, we can meet by phone or Zoom to discuss your situation.

Record Your Progress

This is your opportunity to track your progress. Start by asking yourself how important this practice is to you? Record the importance as - not at all, somewhat, fairly, highly or extremely. 

Now next to it ask yourself how well you carry out this practice. Record your performance as - very poor, poor, okay, good or very good. 

Importance Performance Check

The things we track, we pay attention to. Across time, come back and record your new results. You will find that as you are intentional about making improvements, you will bump your "score" up higher. 

This is significant. Don't miss the opportunity to acknowledge your success, and use it as a springboard for making even further gain.


We seem to go to great lengths to have others like us, or to please others. It makes us try to be what we may not actually be. It's a performance. Keeping that up at work or in leadership day by day takes a toll.

Maybe you are entirely okay just as you are. No need to perform. Think about this. It is a profound thought. YOU are okay.

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