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Episode 39

Why People Pleasing Is Killing Your Growth with Katie Bell

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About this episode

In our upcoming episode of the “Treat Your Business” podcast, we’re diving deep into the topic of people-pleasing and its impact on your business’s success. Katie discusses people-pleasing and how it’s affecting your business growth. As health and wellness professionals, we often over-service and over-deliver because we genuinely care about our clients’ results and want to be seen as experts in our field. This desire to please others can lead to scope creep, where we end up doing more and more without getting adequately compensated.

One of the main reasons for people-pleasing is the need for external validation. We want to hear that we’re doing a great job, and it becomes a part of our ego to receive such praise. Another reason is fear; we worry that if we don’t say yes to everything, we might disappoint others, lose our reputation, or be seen as only interested in money.

However, it’s essential to set clear expectations and boundaries right from the beginning of our client interactions. By doing so, we can avoid over-promising and under-delivering, which often leads to frustration and burnout. Our needs as business owners must be met first for us to deliver the best service to our clients.

Saying no strategically is more powerful than saying yes to everything. It allows us to focus on activities that truly move our business forward and avoid diluting ourselves with unnecessary tasks. Self-reflection is crucial in recognising patterns of people-pleasing behaviour and setting healthy boundaries that will support our business growth.

Katie invites you to take a moment and reflect on your actions. Are you over-delivering and people-pleasing more than necessary? By documenting these activities and analysing your patterns, you can identify areas where you need to set better boundaries and say no more often. Remember, it’s okay to say no strategically to prioritise your business and well-being. Let’s take steps towards a more successful and fulfilling business journey together.

Key Takeaways:

  • People-pleasing can be detrimental to business growth as it leads to over-servicing and over-delivering without appropriate compensation.
  • As health and wellness professionals, we often feel the need to over-deliver because we genuinely care about our clients’ results and want to be seen as experts.
  • Clear expectations and boundaries should be set from the beginning of client interactions to avoid over-promising and under-delivering.
  • Saying no strategically is more powerful than saying yes to everything, as it allows us to focus on activities that genuinely move our business forward.
  • Recognising patterns of people-pleasing behaviour and setting healthy boundaries is crucial for business success and avoiding burnout.

If you’re tired of overworking yourself, feeling undervalued, and juggling unnecessary tasks, this episode is tailor-made for you. It’s time to prioritise your business and your well-being.

Tune in to the “Treat Your Business” podcast to embark on a journey toward business growth, success, and fulfillment. Let’s work together to overcome people-pleasing and unlock your business’s true potential.


This podcast is sponsored by the team at HMDG


  • 0:00-Introduction to this episode
  • 2:15-The problem with people pleasing
  • 5:22-How to streamline the rehab process?
  • 6:50-Empowering and disempowering your needs.
  • 9:38-The need for external validation and validation.
  • 13:58-Manage expectations right from the beginning.
  • 15:55-What is the minimum level of service?
  • 18:52-The risk of being a people pleaser.
  • 21:13-The power of saying no strategically.


Katie Bell: 0:02

You’re listening to treat your business with Katie Bell, the podcast for health and wellness business owners that want a need to give their business the treatment plan. It needs a treatment plan that will create more time back in your life, more income and more confidence when it comes to running your business. I’m here to share with you bite sized episodes full of tried and tested tips from my own real experience of growing a successful physiotherapy and wellness clinic and from working with many businesses to do the same. The treat your business podcast is sponsored by hm DG. Marketing is always one of the top three issues for clinic owners that I speak to. It’s too expensive and complicated. They’ve had issues in the past or they just don’t know where to find a trusted expert. It’s always said only recommend products or services you’re confident in using yourself. Well, when it comes to marketing, we use HMD G for our own clinic. They’ve proven to be exactly what you’d want from an agency. As a specialist. They understand the industry. They’re responsive and always deliver. We can’t recommend them highly enough. Head to HMD To find out more. Hi, listeners. Thanks for tuning in to this week’s episode of the treat your business podcast. My name is Katie Bell, I am your host, and hopefully many of you know me by now. But if you don’t, I am the owner and founder of Thrive health mom’s business coaching and we help physios osteopath, sports massage therapists, get more clients, make more money, get more time back and feel like a confident and successful business owner. So if you are new to listen to this podcast, thank you for being here. And this week’s episode is going to be talking about people pleasing and why people pleasing is killing your growth. So first of all, what do I need, because this term is bandied about loads that, you know, we are naturally people pleasers, because we like to particularly in our industry, in the health industry, we go into it because we care. Because we really want to, we’re passionate about getting results for our clients. And we want to be known as an expert within our field, we want to be known as the go to person. And with that, we often feel like we have to over service we have to over deliver to our clients. We also then found we get this thing called scope creep, which is where you find what, like your rehab programmes or your communication or the things that you said you were going to deliver starts to expand and expand and expand and you end up doing more and more and more, but you’re not being paid any more for it. It can also be when people say Oh, Katie, can I just pick your brains. And more often than not, that is absolutely fine. But if you are somebody that people pleasers a lot, who finds that you are over servicing, over delivering a lot feels that you are perhaps not valued. Or perhaps you have, I guess, things going on around your self worth, which means that you might be charging or under charging your clients. All of this can lead to burnout, it can lead to exhaustion, it can lead to frustration, it can lead to feelings of anger, because you feel like you’re doing more than you should be doing for what you’re being paid for. It can be when people say Can I just pick your brains? Can I could you just run this errand for me? Or can you give up your time, even though you don’t have any time to give up. And it can be when particularly if you are listening to this and you have staff, when you decide that you’re going to delegate something, you pass something on. And then before you know it, the monkey is back with you. Okay, and that’s you having to feel like I’ve tried to delegate this I’ve not been able to do it. So now I’ve got to take it back. So this whole kind of people pleasing culture, that I think a lot of it is down to when we were trained, a lot of us came through our training and we were the NHS paid or you know, contributed to our towards our fears. We were meant to go into the NHS and you know, work for one to five however many years within their within their rotations and then move up. There was never ever, ever any training around self confidence self worth, how you position yourself as an expert, what it means to be an expert. And therefore, we’ve got into this trap of feeling like you just need to constantly over over deliver, feel like you need to be doing more and more CPD courses, training courses to position yourself as the expert but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being paid any more money to deliver your services. And what happens when we are people pleasers So is that we actually, we’re actually getting a disservice to our clients because we can’t be amazing at everything like to think become, but we can’t be amazing at everything. We have things such, which sit within our zone of genius. Now, there’s a lot of stuff that you can be doing with your clients that you can deliver on. But it isn’t really the optimal use of your time. I had a, an amazing group call this morning with our foundational members. And one of the members asked a question, which was, I feel like I spent loads and loads of time putting together rehab plans, exercise plans, lifestyle tips, and, you know, Lifestyle Analysis and really giving them this kind of rounded experience, which I do outside of their appointment time. And I’m just wondering how I can tighten up and streamline that process, we delved into the question as we would normally do, to get to the real, the real issue. And what the real issue was, was that this fabulous physio, feels like she’s over delivering for the value that she for what she is charging, she feels undervalued. And it became a thing that was while I am, you know, the same charge as everybody else in my area, because I don’t want to be any more expensive because people aren’t going to want to work with me. But what was actually happening is that when people were coming to see the same, this experience is way better than anybody else I’ve seen. So why are you not charging more her clients were actually asking her why why you’re not charging more for this because it’s amazing. So yes, we need to streamline the process and make make a way that she can get her rehab plans done in a much more time efficient way. But actually, we needed to deal with the issue of people pleasing and over servicing her clients have scope creep. So just remember that even though you can just because you can doesn’t mean you should. And there are ways that empower our needs. And there are ways that we work that disempower our needs. So some of our needs can be around certainty, they can be around being being an expert, it can be being known being significant, that can be a need. Now there are ways that we work that empower those needs. And there are ways that we work them that disempower those needs. So for example, if one of your key values or thing that’s really important to you is to feel significant. One of the ways that you may work is that you may people please that you may over service, you may over deliver. Now, that’s a disempowering way of meeting your needs your significant needs. Okay, so there’s always the yin and the yang of this, but it’s asking yourself, why is it that I am a people pleaser? Okay. And if you’ve listened to some of our recent episodes with Philipa, who is our mindset coach on the Thrive programme, she talks about saying, a part of you is a people pleaser, because not all of you, is a people pleaser. And when we say a part of you is a people pleaser, it just kind of makes it feel like it’s not all of us. It’s a it’s less significant, it’s not who we are, it’s just a part of who we are. So if a part aren’t part of me is a people pleaser. Eight years ago, a massive part of it was a people pleaser. And I have had to work on this and I still have to work on it. Okay. And I’m always very transparent on these podcasts. But one of the reasons is why people pleasers because we do genuinely care, I really, really, really care about the results that a my patients in my clinic get and be my clients on my coaching programme gap. And sometimes I care so much that I try and force them to to their results, rather than use the power to get them there. And rather than remember that I’m responsible to you, but I’m not responsible for you. Okay, my job is to deliver the very best conditions for delivery, the very best coaching and teaching and ways that we deliver our programmes so that you can go and get the very best results that you want to get. But that is where my responsibility ends, it is not my responsibility to make you do it. I can add in accountability, I can add in ways of of encouraging you and supporting you. But we have to really kind of understand where our responsibility lies. So we do it because we genuinely care. A second reason why we people pleaser is because a part of us looks for external gratification. It looks for that external acknowledgement that you are doing a great job. And I really remember this when I first opened my clinic, and there was me and one other person working in the clinic way back nine years ago, and I was seeing 6070 patients a week. I was working six clinical days out I was the I was like a circus performer had every hat on possible. And when people used to ring up to booking with me, because my name is the business, so hey, people ringing to book in with you, I remember thinking, Oh, if I say yes to them. And when I say yes, they used to go, Katie, you are an absolute star, like what would I do without you. And a part of me really, really likes that. So my ego likes that. And therefore, it starts to do it more, because that’s what it wants. Now growing up as a as a child, I was a really good kid at school, I was sporty, I was fairly intelligent. I used to do the work I used to study, I basically did everything opposite to my brother, who was just used to play in the sandpit and in the water, and do no work whatsoever, but has a way about him, which means he’s always going to be an amazing success. But I was a good I was a good kid, which meant that I would often get told at school and by my parents, by my peers, and you do really well, that’s really, really good. That’s great. So I got my wiring, my programming got used to always being told from an external source that I was doing a good job. So my wiring and programming into adulthood is exactly the same. I need other people to tell me, you’re doing amazing, that is really good. Okay, a part of my ego still needs that I recognise that a part of us also works from a place of fear. So when we are people pleasing when we’re over servicing, when we’re over delivering, put yourself in the scenario of being with that client, in the clinic, and you can feel yourself having them in extra at the end of the day, you know, it’s about to come out your mouth, you’re saying, oh, yeah, okay, excuse me all the time, or come in early? I’ll come in early, and I’ll sort you out. Or yeah, okay, I’ll let the credits roll over into the next block. You know, it’s about to come out. And you think, why is why am I doing that? Is it because I need that gratification? I need that external stimulus to say you’re a great person, or is it because I think if I don’t say that, they’re going to think I’m not good enough. Or that I don’t know enough, or that I might lose my reputation, or that I might be I might fail, or that I might be seen to be only in it for the money. And if I’m only in it for the money, then people are going to think that I’m doing it for the wrong reason that people are not going to want to visit me and Oh, other than the ego takes over and you just have a people pleaser. So how is it? How can we create healthy boundaries that allow you to people please, in a healthy way, that doesn’t feel like you’re constantly over delivering that you’ll feel like you’re constantly being pulled. And some of the kind of nitty gritty house is about communication. It’s about setting very clear expectations with your patients with your clients, or perhaps with your staff members, it can work both ways. Very, very clear expectations around how you communicate how they can communicate with you, what channels are available for communication, when you are likely to respond, have an auto responder set on so that they know when they’re likely to receive a message back and manage those expectations right from the beginning of the customer journey. So not when a client see me three times and then you start to go Oh, a, you know, the fact that you want slapping me at 11 o’clock at night to talk about your growing pain? Could you not do that? Could you use the actual method, which is via email, don’t do that. Okay, that is your fault, because you have allowed those boundaries to be crossed too early? Well, it’s your responsibility. So what I would encourage you to do is really think about, okay, I want to be available, I want to be in a position where I can really give my patients the best experience, but with a healthy boundary. So set your expectations right from the beginning, the way they first make contact with your business right through to when you offer them when you discharge them. You want to manage those expectations. And this avoids the risk of disappointing your patients or your staff later on. Because you’ve over promised and under delivered. We have an expectation within our clinic that we will deliver a exercise programme within a certain amount of time. Okay. Now I say to my team, if you don’t think that’s a realistic timeframe that you can work to do not tell them that because then we look like we’re not delivering on what we’ve promised and I can’t bear that. So we like to manage their expectations from the beginning. We avoid that risk of disappointing the patients or your staff members later on. And it also means that you can then with those conditions that you’ve set up, you can then really deliver the best possible service for them. because you’ve set up ways and means that are easily easily, easily managed, easily tracked, easily monitored, I know that there is nothing worse than feeling like you’ve got Facebook DM coming in, you’ve got somebody on Instagram, you’ve got somebody like we use Slack in our business. So that’s our that our main form of communication, we’ve moved away completely from internal emails, we use a Slack channel, but you’ve got slack messages coming in, you’ve then got external emails coming in, you’ve then got threads, whatever the heck that is bringing you there’s all of these ways that people can connect with you. But you as the business owner, time is everything. So we have to optimise how we can communicate with all with our clients with our inquiries with all these points of contact, in the best possible way, in the professional way. That means we manage those expectations right from the beginning. And I always like to kind of think about some questions when I’m looking at, okay, am I people pleasing here? Am I trying to over deliver? Why am I doing that? And I like to think right? What is the minimum level that is expected? What like, Will I not? Not do because sometimes we can get into our 10 out of 1011 out of 1012 out of 10 mindset and we just we just absolutely go off the scale. Okay, because a big part of us is in fear. A big part of this is that external gratification, whatever. So what is the minimum requirements that your clients need from you to get the results that they are looking for? And I can guarantee that most people listening to this, your minimum is good enough. Okay, because most people listening are perfectionist most people love to over deliver. And when you’re a people pleaser, and when you run over deliver your seven out of 10 is literally most people’s 12 out of 10. Okay, so I have a rule in my life, really? I say is it seven out of 10? Yes, do it. Let’s move forward, put it out there, get the newsletter out, get the website up, send that flyer, print it do it whatever. If it’s seven out of 10, we’re moving forwards because my seven out of 10 is probably most people’s nine or 10. If I strive for nine or 10 and then stuck in perfection paralysis, and I never really move forwards. So what’s the minimum, okay, that you are happy to set as an expectation as a boundary as a level of service? And then what is the risk? What’s the legitimate risk of over delivering, because I always like to say when you say yes to something, you’re you have to have a trade off, you have to trade something off. It might be time, it might be money, it might be energy, it might be all three of those. It might be having to say no to something else and know that experience something else in your business that you want to move forwards. Because multitasking, in case you didn’t know is absolutely impossible. Like it doesn’t it’s not even a thing. Okay, multitasking is not possible, you can’t fill the dishwasher and write an email, right just get cannot happen unless you have got four sets of hands. So when we think of right, the risk of over delivery here is that I’m going to be burnt out, I’m going to be exhausted, actually, I’m going to get really pissed off with my clients, I’m not going to want to deliver. And I’m not going to be able to keep this up for the next 510 years of my business or longer. I’m going to get tired, I’m going to miss things, I’m going to lose my reputation. That’s actually the risk of over delivery would get what it’s a disservice to our clients. We can’t be amazing at everything. And if I gave the minimum level, and I didn’t spend 25 minutes preparing an exercise programme, I got chapped. GPT to write me a letter instead, or whatever it is that you need to do, oh, my clients actually going to be unhappy? Or is that a story that I’ve made up? Because we’re really good at making up stories? And what’s the risk to me, the risk to you as a business owner that consistently over delivers and people pleasers in your personal life and in your business life is that you will always feel unfulfilled, you will always feel like you’re chasing your tail. And you’ll always feel like you’re never ever good enough. You’re never ever significant enough. Because you’re always trying to chase the next thing. And are you willing to risk that so recognising that your own needs as a business owner, and as a person must be met first. This is one of the I think the biggest challenges we have. And I’m gonna say this and I might ruffle some feathers. But I think it’s more challenging for women to put themselves in a position that they feel like their needs are being met first before anybody else. And I know that might just kind of treatment some people but that’s that is my belief. We have to recognise as a business so that our needs must be met, must be met first for you to be able to go and deliver an amazing service to everybody else and continue You to do that. I know sometimes I have feelings in my business I, as I said, part of me is still people pleaser. I will get myself into a position and I just think, What on earth am I doing this for? Why am I doing this? And it’s because a part of me when I was making the decision was either in a place of fear, I was feeling a bit funky about yourself about the self worth, and therefore I’ve developed a programme or whatever it is, that is, I am just delivering way too much. And it’s usually when I run it past my coach, that they go, Okay, well, let’s chop 50% Out of that, Katie, and then we might be somewhere about right, because I’m naturally always going to try and give too much. So I have to recognise that for me to be amazing to you guys to turn up onto this podcast and be creative, and think about different things to talk about each week, and deliver on masterclasses and deliver our programmes and work with business owners and transform your businesses in your lives. I cannot do that if my needs as a business owner and as a person are not that first, that comes from clear boundaries and expectations from the beginning. And actually recognising that say no, as a business owner doesn’t make you a bad business owner. It makes you one of the best business owners. Because you are saying no strategically, those business owners that just say yes to everything. I see it all the time on on Instagram On Facebook, when I see lots of things happening in people’s businesses, and most of the time I’m looking at it thinking, I love this. I love the creativity. I love the entrepreneurship. I love that kind of risk taking. But a part of me always goes oh, okay, they are they are really diluting themselves here. They’re saying yes to everything. Because something else going on here, chasing the money, they’re in a place of fear. They don’t believe in themselves. They’ve not got the strategy, they’re lacking that focus. So there is more power in saying no, than there is in saying yes. And shifting your mindset into this growth mindset. This is embracing the belief that setting boundaries, making different choices are an integral part of being successful business owner. The ability to say no and strategically say no, is going to mean that your business grows and thrives. When you’re constantly saying, Yes, you are, you’re just going to be in survival mode. And one of the ways that we do that is that we have to self reflect, okay, and a big part of me really struggles to do this, because a big part of me thinks I haven’t got enough in time to be self reflecting. But growth, growth is a clinico. And that is absolutely essential. And to grow, we have to be in a position where we can self reflect, we can journal, we can seek help, we can seek professional development, so we can improve our business skills and our confidence. And that’s through having a mentor having a coach surrounding yourself, amongst business owners in our industry who are taking those next steps go into that next level in terms of their mindset and their growth and their ability to say no strategic play, and have those healthy boundaries in place. So one of the things that I think is really useful, and I’ve got a resource that I have pops into a PDF and is going to be in the show notes for you to download. Is a people pleasing PDF, okay, really simple. And what you’re going to do for you can do this for a day, you can do this for a week, you do this for a month, if you wish depends how bad you think the situation is, you’re going to list in a day, you know, this, this PDF on your desk, and you’re going to list every time that you are doing an activity that you’ve said yes to that you wish you said no to, that you feel like you’re over delivering that you’ve that you have agreed to do a project that isn’t serving you that you have decided to run an errand for somebody that isn’t serving you or you have no time for. And that even can be that you’ve said yes to picking the kids up from school. Okay, I want you to think your needs must be met first. This is not about being selfish. being selfish, it’s very, very important to ensure that you can go and deliver an amazing service to all of those clients that really, really need your help. So you’re going to document each activity that you have, and you’re going to document the amount of time that you’ve spent on set activity. Now this might feel like a really, really simple exercise to do, but self reflection comes from being able to stop and go, Okay, I’m on a hamster wheel, a breeze crazy, I can’t think can’t see the wood for the trees. I’m going to just stop and really analyse where I’m spending my time. So I invite you to download this. I invite you to fill it in. And I invite you then to write some insights around what’s coming up for you. And I do this quite regularly in my business when I feel like some of my great habits are slipping When I feel like I’m back to chasing my tail, when I feel I come back to being a yes person, it’s sometimes can be when you’re ready to take the next step in your business. And your ego will work really hard to keep you where you are, and keep you allow your programming that you’ve been brought with to kick back in. And you’re going back into that people pleasing that over delivery. So I invite you to download, I invite you to fill it all in and then just write down some insights and you are welcome to share those with me. If it helps. You can go to our Facebook group, and you can share them in now you can send me a message if you want to. But those insights will really pull out certain things for you that are not serving you right now in your life and in your business that are killing your growth. And when you do this, and when you realise how much collective time you have spent on things that are not serving you or things that you wish you’d said no to that you’ve said yes to, it will blow your mind. It’s the same mind blowing stat that when your iPhone tells you how much screen time you’ve had each day, literally makes me want to vomit because I think, wow, I can I can nobody can use the excuse of being too busy. When your screen time flashes up and says you have been using this phone for four hours and 52 minutes today, or whatever it might be. Okay, so it’s the mind blowing stuff that’s in front of you for ScienceBase people like you guys are going to be like, Okay, well, that clearly says I’m wasting hours, seven hours, nine hours, 12 hours on shit that I don’t even want to do in the first place. That is not high income generating, it’s not moving my business forwards. It’s just over delivery. So that will be in the show notes for you to download. Thank you for joining me on this week’s episode. I hope for some of you listen to this. So for all of you that you’ve taken a lot from this and you can just have a moment and go into your diary. And just go and be brave. Cancel some stuff that you really don’t want to do that. You know you said yes to that you really wish you could say no to because remember, there is more power in saying no, that is insane. Yes. I will see you all next week for the next episode of the treat your business podcast. Thank you for listening to treat your business with Katie Bell, the podcast that tells you what you really need to hear and know when it comes to running a successful business in the health and wellness industry that gives you the time, money and freedom you are wanting for access to our free workshops on how to get more clients in your business. How to make more income in the next 30 days. And to get more time back in your business and life. Head to our free Facebook group today. Treat your business or head over to thrive dash business All of the links are available in the show notes

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