Pleasing Everyone

Stop this. Now.

Pleasing everyone.

You've heard this before, and I'll say it again (and again and again). Stop trying to please everyone.

As creatives / students / growing individuals, you're exposed to a whole lot of different people. People who need / don't need the best grades, people who want / don't want a significant other, people who strive / don't strive for what they say they want. And dealing with these people can be irritable, because you don't know how to interact with them, especially in terms of working with them.

At the end of the day, it comes down to this


Setting expectations with what you can offer and who to offer the pleasure to. But to begin, the most important person to please is yourself.

Set expectations with yourself. Tell yourself you aren't going to bend over backwards to plan / set / schedule / promise expectations with people you don't need to please. Do not try to please everyone. If you're not trying to become known as a freelance graphic designer, don't go out of your way to please people as a graphic designer; if you're not trying to become known as a choreographer, don't go out of your way to please people with your choreography; if you're not trying to become known as a GIS specialist, don't go out of your way to please people as a GIS specialist. Know what to expect from yourself.

Do it:

  1. Go to a mirror

  2. Look at yourself in the eye

  3. Complete this phrase: "I know I don't need to please everyone, but I expect myself to please a select few people that ____[insert your distinct goals of helping others]_____"

" I know I don't need to please everyone, but I expect myself to please a select few people that want to share their stories to the world. I also want to help the few that want to be free and who strive to do what they want. "

Once you come to terms with yourself, and clearly understand what your end goal is, then you can start the pleasing game. When you've panned out the unwanted gravel you don't need to please, you can touch the gold with much more effectiveness.

This is often the hardest part of deciding who/what to invest your time in. "Should I take this random job because it might lead to better things? Should I invest my time into this girl because she makes me a better person? Should I work in this lab or that lab?"… I wish I could tell you. I wish I could give distinct answers to these indistinct questions. But only you can make that decision.

Remember: Set Expectations

  • First with yourself
  • Then with others

You might want to try working one type of job, and it may not turn out to be the helpful job you thought it would be. KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT FROM YOURSELF, respect who you are, and leave the job that's getting you nowhere. If a book sucks, stop reading it.

And once you know who to work with, set your collaborative expectations. It's not just you anymore, it's 2 / 3 / 10 / 50 / 255 other people working with you. Set the expectations for what you can bring to that table.

You know what you can offer, and you know what it's worth. If it's a paid gig, know your monetary worth. If it's a group project, respect yourself within the group dynamic (i.e. - don't be afraid to speak and voice your opinions). In general, respect your time.

This is where expectations can get very tricky. Remember when I said you're exposed to a whole lot of different people? That still happens at the same rate within the circle of people you've chosen to work with. People are different and have preconceived notions of what your end collaborative project will produce. If you're in it together, as in with group projects, it just takes a few conversations to agree on a set end goal. Set your group expectations right at the get-go, and know what you'll be doing to please the group as a whole (including yourself).

If you're working for someone else, the scale becomes a little more one-sided. And as a freelancer / thesis student, I'm now realizing that what you expect from yourself can be waaaay more than enough for what your boss / supervisor actually wants. And at this level, you don't necessarily need to please yourself! Please them.

Recall: This is under the assumption that you already know that pleasing them will ultimately please you by helping you move towards your end goals.


I was recently interviewed by the McMaster University Faculty of Health Sciences News, and gained a bit of publicity on my thesis project. Admittedly (especially being a typical creative type that is rarely fully happy with a final piece), I thought I didn't deserve that kind of publicity. Someone else could have produced a final product way better than I did; someone else could have written a way better script; someone else could have done a better job. Period. I'm still kind of going through that phase.

CLICK HERE to read the full article

But I'm slowly understanding and accepting that it was, indeed, an undergraduate project. Not a full-blown production piece with unlimited finances.

The expectation was a science communication product that helps convey a specific message to a specific audience. And with that in mind, I think I've pleased who I needed to please. My supervisor.


Always keep this in mind,






P.S. – If these blogposts please you, it would truly please me if you SIGN-UP for a FREE SUBSCRIPTION

Get free updates on how I mess things up, and how you can do better than me and live your life the way you want.