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Episode Transcript

You’re pretty comfortable with your current engineering job. You’re improving your ability to solve problems. And you’re satisfied with how you’ve kept up with your work. 

It’ll be better though when you get to the point where you feel needed. 

When everyone is happy with what you’re doing. 

If you could just get people to understand you and like you more.

But be careful here.

Because doing well in your career doesn’t mean pleasing everyone and making sure they approve of you.

How Striving to Be Liked Blocks Your Engineering Career Potential

It’s too common for women to want to be people pleasers at work. 

And it seems especially true in engineering. Because women engineers also tend to go overboard to try to show their competence.

The attempt to please everyone shows up in a need to be understood and liked. 

Of course there’s a certain amount of friendship and connection necessary for an effective workplace. 

But over-focus on pleasing is not a good thing.

What happens when you strive to be liked and understood is that you give up part of who you are

When you’re always looking for others’ approval, you stop yourself from growing along your own path. You focus on pleasing others at the expense of following your own vision.

You relinquish your creativity.

You lower the frequency of your energetic center.

You lose sight of the bigger picture. 

Trying to do for everyone and uphold your reputation of being nice is exhausting. 

And in the end you severely degrade your leadership and advancement potential. 

How to Release the Need to Please for a Smoother Career Journey

Everyone wants to be liked to some extent. It’s not hard to fall into that trap. 

Maybe the need to please feels strong for you. 

If so, let me offer you 3 pieces of advice to help you remove this obstacle from your career journey.

  1. Release the desire to be liked and understood. 

Satisfaction comes from within, not through the approval of others. 

Your career vision is based on your values, skills, strengths and passion. It’s uniquely defined for your success.

The expectation that people like and understand you drives you to take things personally.

Whereas if you’re able to work independent of others’ opinions, you’ll save yourself a lot of drama. 

Follow your instincts and let others follow theirs.

You’ve heard people say you can’t please everyone. Very true. And no one can understand you or like you allthe time. Even people who are very close to you.

Because no one has the same experiences and talents as you.

Because no one has the same learning or intuition as you. 

Because you are you. And people are different.

So let go the idea of being liked and understood. It’s not necessary.

  1. Trust yourself and your own ideas.

The power of your own inspiration and inner wisdom move you forward in your career. 

But if you’re waiting for approval or validation, that power wanes. And you lose your edge. 

A big reason why you seek the approval of others is that you no longer trust yourself. 

So start today to practice trusting your ideas. Practice respectful self-talk. Practice giving your own approval of yourself.

Trust yourself and your ideas rather than saying or doing what you think people want you to. 

You don’t always know what others want. And they can tell a mile away when you’re inauthentic. 

Trust that your ideas are worthy and viable and necessary.

  1. Decide what’s most important and let that drive you.

You’ll find that trying to please everyone – or working for their approval – is exhausting. 

You’ll be spread thin trying to do for them what you think is necessary to get them to like and understand you. 

You’ll find you no longer have focus. And your work is all over the place.

It’s time to switch from handling everyone else’s needs to caring for your own. And the first step is to decide what your priorities are.

What’s most important for you, for your career, for your vision

Set your focus on your goals that are most important right now. And set boundaries to allow you to reach them in reasonable time. 

Accept that you cannot please everyone. And make the shift from striving-to-please to striving-to-achieve. To follow your career vision.

These things aren’t easy to do. I know. Even though it sounds straightforward, sometimes you need an accountability partner.

I’m happy to be that person for you. We can start with a strategy session. Sign up here.

3 Things Happen When You Stop People Pleasing in Your Engineering Career

Once you’re no longer tethered to the idea of pleasing everyone – of being liked and understood and getting outside approval – 3 things happen:

  1. The stress of always having to tie your work to the preferences of others is released. And you move through each work day much more freely and easily.
  1. You stop judging your work based on what you think other’s want. And your own ideas flourish because you stop comparing them to everyone else’s.
  1. Your career path opens up because obstacles are removed. And you start moving faster toward your goals and dreams.

That’s what I want for you in your engineering career.

Next time on Her Engineering Career Podcast, we’ll rediscover the skill of decision-making, an all-important topic for engineers. Be sure to join me for Episode 112.