Home Youth Leaders Articles for Youth Leaders People-Pleasing Syndrome: How to Overcome Over-Achievement

People-Pleasing Syndrome: How to Overcome Over-Achievement

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People-pleasing syndrome is prevalent in ministry circles. God calls church workers to serve, so shouldn’t we prioritize other people’s needs? Discover how to thrive by being satisfied with 80%.

I just got off the phone with a youth pastor buddy. He’s tired. Going in many directions at the same time. Can’t give enough at home. Trying to be who others want him to be. Forgetting who God has called him to be. And it stinks! Ministry isn’t even that fun anymore. It’s more like a chore chart we put on the fridge, expecting magical completions.

I used to be just like this. It’s called people-pleasing, over-achiever syndrome. Not really, but if this existed, I had it. Many of you do too. We want to be all things to all people at all times. Cloning has not become an acceptable form of ministry folks. Sorry, this won’t happen!

What saved me? I started giving 80%. That’s right. I quit giving my all to the things that were becoming too much to bear.

Avoid People-Pleasing Syndrome

Ask yourself these questions. Then consider what you can change.

1. Who will be with me the rest of my life?

First, your kids, spouse, best friends, siblings or parents (depends on where you are in life) get your 100%. These are people you commit to for life, so start acting like it. Show up to their games. Be on time for dinner. Put away your phone during family meals or activities. These people are too precious not to invest in.

2. Who is here for the interim but doesn’t have a say in who I am?

Next, you know that parent or boss or weird emails asking you to water the plants in the lobby? Use this little word called “no.” Hang out with a 2-year-old and practice it a bit. This is where the 80% becomes vital to survival. If something doesn’t matter and you’re doing it “because,” then cut back.

I’m a perfectionist. So I didn’t stop until everything was perfect. But I was dying. With the 80% rule, I plan a program to a T. Then if I accomplish 80%, it’s a success from a logistics side!

It took a long time to change my mentality and not feel like a failure as a leader. If relationships are bogging you down, instead of giving 30 minutes, give 20. This cuts out the emotional energy that’s draining you. It puts you on a sustainable path where you won’t just be surviving.

If someone is especially draining or is damaging your soul, it’s OK to let relationships go.