Stop trying to please everyone – it’s impossible!

Being busy has become a bit of badge of honour lately. People often brag to one another about how busy they are. I know I can be very guilty of this.

Trying to please everyone

So why are we all so busy? Well, I think this is for a number of reasons but a big one for me is trying to please everyone. By the way, I am not saying I do please everyone, far from it, but I have been very guilty of trying to please everyone for most of my life.

I turned 40 this year and I think I have finally realised that trying to please everyone is an impossible goal. I realised this in business a few years back and it was a game changer for me. My stress levels dramatically dropped overnight and it really helped me focus on what customers I wanted and how best to help them. From then on my productivity increased along with plenty of customer referrals and 5 star Google reviews.

Whether you apply the belief that you cant please everyone to your personal life or to your business life I think it is a valuable lesson and hopefully anyone young reading this can learn this lesson quicker than I did. You may be reading this thinking what is wrong with trying to please everyone. Surely, that is what we should all be doing to make the world a better place. I agree we should all be trying to make the world a better place I just don’t think you can do that by trying to please everyone. Everyone has different strengths and by learning what our strengths are we can then learn who we best serve.

I heard this story several years ago and was reminded of it again recently so thought I would share it.

What happens when you try to please everyone

One day, a long time ago, an old man and his son were on their way to the village market walking a donkey on a lead, which they hoped to sell. As they walked along the road they came across some folk that laughed at the old man and said how silly he was for not riding the donkey, as that is what donkeys are for. So the old man slightly embarrassed climbed onto the donkey and continued to ride into the village.

They had gone a little farther along the road, when they met some more folk who criticised the man for riding the donkey and letting his poor son walk along side. So the old man climbed down off the donkey and lifted his young son aboard and continued along the road to the village.

Just a few moments later they met some more folk who told the young boy he must respect old age, and to get down, and let the old man ride. So the old man told the boy to stay where he was and he then also climbed upon the donkey and they both continued to ride the donkey into town.

They had no sooner started out again when they met some more people who told them how cruel it was to load up a poor donkey with so much weight and that the donkey was suffering from exhaustion.

The old man and his son quickly scrambled down, and they both decided to carry the donkey themselves. A short time later, they came across a bridge and the donkey became scared and began to kick and bray, and then just as they were crossing the bridge, the ropes that held the donkey gave way, and down he tumbled into the river.

The old man and boy sadly returned home. By trying to please everybody, they had pleased nobody, and lost something very valuable.

Take home

Im no guru but my advice to anyone that like me has been guilty of trying to please everyone is….

Identify your strengths, decide who you would like to help and focus your time and energy on pleasing them and the world will be a better place 😊

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