The Path of Leashed Resistance | Handel Group

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The Path of Leashed Resistance

Is the job you originally signed up for AND the one you’re actually doing one and the same? Were your current duties written into your job description in invisible ink? In fact, it might even feel worse than invisible ink, but indelible ink.

Come on, be honest: If your current (actual) job description were a dating profile, would you swipe right today?

For many of us, what was in our original job description and what we actually signed up for no longer match. Our jobs have morphed. You’re not necessarily unhappy with what you’re doing, but you certainly didn’t raise your hand and volunteer for those “perks.”

What perks?

Oh, I don’t know…maybe mastering a spreadsheet, or getting proficient at Adobe Illustrator, or creating your own slide deck, or being peacemaker when your boss offends other division leaders, or, or, or.

For some of us (myself included), namely the martyrs, good soldiers, overachievers, and people pleasers, it may be that “poor-us” are simply too good at what we do and therefore get handed extra responsibilities. Or maybe we “accidentally” slipped a subtle, “Suuuure, I can handle that for you,” and they (the powers that be) thought we meant it. And maybe we did.

But certainly NOT indelibly…  

And we find ourselves mumbling to ourselves every so often…or even more often than that! Sound familiar? More than likely, as far as you can see (at the moment!), you’ve got the following choices:

a) Quit

b) Complain (silently…or not so silently)

c) Put your head down, continue to say yes when you mean no, all the while thinking it’s a smart business move of yours.

d) A and B

e) Step up. Strap on your sense of humor. Leash your trait.

f) Yes, your trait.

So, what do you think my answer would be?!!! Fine, what would my higher self’s answer be?

E, of course. As in, E for everyone…as in, if you’re human, you can’t get out of having both negative and positive personality traits. The negative traits work against your dream and fuel your inner dialogue. But the good news (yes, there is some!) is you don’t have to look that far to find out where you most likely got them.

See: your parents.

The bad news (sorry!) is that your traits are hard-wired and going nowhere. But, once you can identify them, you can put them on a leash…a tight one.

Yes. You can design your personality.

And this particular trait that I’m talking about here, the one that nods yes way more often than you mean, shoulds yourself, silently complains about it, and suffers over it, wishing it were different, all the while doing nothing differently…is not as business savvy of us as we might think. In fact, it’s a negative trait that many of us hard-working humans have that HG has come to nickname not just negative of us, but martyr-dumb of us.

And, while we’re (down) here, let me ask you something: Did you ever notice how it’s so much easier for us humans to cop to being “martyrs” than “people pleasers”?  Sure, martyrdom (spelled the correct way) is seemingly a better (invisible) badge to wear (or bear).

But is it really?

Most of us martyrs readily admit that we have a hard time saying no, or being honest about how we really feel, but remain mystified about how to switch gears. I hear this from clients all the time. They put themselves on the backburner, sacrifice their own needs so often that now they no longer even know what they want anymore. They’ve devoted so much time and energy to XYZ ( job, family, relationship, partner, etc.) that they didn’t check in on their own dreams, and now they’re coming up short handed or with a job that’s morphed indelibly.

If this sounds like you, it’s okay. Welcome to the species. This, your people-pleasing /martyr-dumb trait, like all of our not so positive personality traits, can be leashed with the right tools and intention.

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It starts with telling the truth.

It requires more than just admitting to people pleasing. As most people pleasers can admit to being martyrs but still manage to feel justified. You know, at least you’ve got a big heart, and you’re a hard worker, right? The harder pill to swallow is owning up to the fact the underlying driver is the need to be needed, to feel important, to get brownie points, and to not ever – wait for it – feel uncomfortable saying no OR having to admit to your own dreams. Everyone can count on you, except YOU. People pleasers don’t believe in their own dreams, and eventually they forget about them. They please others. They aren’t true to themselves.

And the opposite of the truth is, well, a lie.

The same people who admit to being martyrs sometimes scratch their heads at that notion. After all, they felt sincere every time they cancelled their plans to accommodate a friend or co-worker in need, right?! Lies in the form of people pleasing have a sneaky way of masquerading as goodwill.

People pleasing breeds inauthenticity on many levels.

You can’t be true to yourself and focused constantly on others. You’re not just hiding your real feelings from them, you’re lying to yourself too – about what’s important to you, and what will make you happy. It’s a backwards power grab. People pleasers avoid being powerful (and responsible!) in their own lives, and instead get their power from the validation of others, currying favors, and winning the badge of martyr that allows them to avoid stepping up to the plate.

What’s the cure for people pleasing?

The opposite of people pleasing is inspired leadership. It’s pulling your big-job panties up. It’s not a distant dream – we can easily identify the qualities of leaders when we meet them every day. They are the people who have boundaries, who stay true to their ideals, who are transparent and honest in conversation. They have ideas, and vision, and integrity. They walk their talk.

It’s being a leader in your own life.

That requires getting reacquainted with your needs, getting clear on your dreams, and certainly only saying yes to using indelible ink in your unwritten job description if it permanently pleases, uh, you too.  


(Good) Will


P.S. Learn to Human Better with Inner.U, our online coaching course that gives you the tools to do this life thing a little better. Inner.U is 12 virtual sessions with Lauren Zander which includes 1 free private coaching session with an HG coach, a Promise Tracker, and a Buddy System to keep you accountable.