Putting Boundaries Around Our Steps (part 2)...People Pleasers

Let's continue addressing the issue of knowing when boundaries are needed to guard our steps, keeping them focused, forward moving and purposeful.

The first post in this series addressed the need to know when our yes to one good thing is really a no to the better thing.  Proper boundaries give us the direction we need to say yes to what God has planned for us instead of being distracted by the shiny objects that can distract us from that plan.

Warning sign #2 ~
You might need a boundary if...
 you feel driven to please people out of fear of rejection.  

We all find ourselves here at some point. We don't intentionally take steps down this path, but it starts with a small side step, followed by another and before we know it, we are taking all of our steps down the paths of others and the path towards our goals and dreams is abandoned.

  • Maybe it starts with a new team member calling you several times a day to ask a variety of questions about getting started, and then a month later, the calls have increased when they should have decreased. 
  • Maybe you have become the yellow pages for your team members as they all call you to get so n so's phone number. 
  • Maybe you are taking on the lion share of work required to pull off a large project or show you have agreed to do with a peer. 
  • Maybe your team members have stopped going to any training meetings but call you constantly to be spoon fed the training they missed.  
  • Maybe you are driven to answer your cell phone every single time it rings, even during family dinners or outings with the children.  

Some may feel that they are jumping from the path of one to the path of another, and another and back to the first one, then jumping to that other one....you get the picture.   And then one day you fall down, exhausted, throwing your hands in the air, ready to give up because this business just doesn't work.

So what does the boundary for this look like?

I like to call it the boundary of expectations. The challenge is getting over the fear that setting expectations makes you an uncaring, 'mean' person.

If this is your challenge, let me offer a different perspective to help you feel better about setting and living by expectations.

If we never expect others to step up, they never really get strong enough to walk on their own two feet. When we keep stepping in with 'people pleasing' behavior, we are carrying them up their stairs of success.

By setting expectations we can guide them up the steps and are freed up to cheer them on as they conquer each new rung on the ladder of success, and at the same time we are reaching new heights in our own business as well.

Boundary of Expectations:

  • Office hours communicated to your team, so they know when you are available to help them without taking away the hours you have allotted to focus on your personal business.  
  • When sharing the load of a project or show, start with an agreed upon plan of action...in writing.  Include an 'out' clause...stipulating a change of plans or partners if the original agreement is not honored along the way. 
  • A practiced response to questions that they could have easily found online or in a manual in their possession.  Instead of taking lots of time spoon feeding them personalized training, take a couple of minutes to remind them where the training is located and then set an appointment during office hours to follow up with them and see what they learned and what you can clarify for them.  
  • Use voice mail!  Let quality time with family or even time you have set aside for yourself remain uninterrupted.  As soon as that time is over, check the voice mail and respond in a timely manner.  
These are just a few ideas to start you thinking about boundaries you might need to establish if your driving force is pleasing people so they will like you, without consideration for success ~ either yours OR theirs.  

And the best part about setting expectations?  


When you use these boundaries to guide team members up the ladder of their personal vision of success, allowing them to gain strength and confidence one step at a time, you are now freed up to cheer and praise them for each level of success.  

If you are spoon feeding or doing it for them, you are too tired or frustrated to celebrate and in reality, they know they didn't really do it themselves either and don't feel valid in celebrating.  

Next time we'll discuss the need for boundaries if you are a 'fixer'.
Let’s Get There One Step at a Time,
Copyright© 2012 Just One Step at a Time

Are you driven by a need to please others to be liked?  Is there another scenario that wasn't addressed here but you could use some help with?  Leave a comment and let's chat about it.  If I don't have a suggestion, I'm sure there are others that do!  Feeling shy?  Leave the comment anonymously...it's that easy! 

Or, have you succeeded in putting establishing boundaries of expectaions?  We'd love to be encouraged, so leave a comment, with or without your name!  


  1. Um, I'm the "fixer". Yep. But I realize, now, that fixing is really me being God,trying to save people. :)

  2. Hello fixer... I'm a fixer too and you are soooo correct in your definition of a fixer! Hope you will share your thoughts on 'lessons learned' when I get that 'fixer boundary' post up :-)


Let's connect! Leave a comment with thoughts, responses or additional words of encouragement!