Welcome to Thrive 9-5, a podcast all about how you can kick ass in the office and life without feeling exhausted or overwhelmed. Each week I'm sharing simple self-care strategies, mindset hacks, and time management tips, so you can get promoted without burning yourself out. My goal is to help you create success without sacrificing your soul or your sanity. I'm your host, Celeste Harrington.
Hey Thrivers, I want to talk about people-pleasing, and my client's recent success with his $300k job offer that he received, but also turned down. And we knew he was going to turn it down. I want to talk about this evolution. The process of him going through the interviews, thinking about the offer, declining the offer, getting offered even more money, still declining the offer, and what that process was like for him.
So we did a lot of work ahead of time for him to feel good and in integrity with himself to turn down this offer. We were looking at a lot of his people-pleasing tendencies because that came up in a big way during this offer process. How his people-pleasing came up was, he knew he wanted to turn down the offer. He knew he didn't want to move to New York (he's currently based on the west coast). The idea was nice at first. He was really attracted to New York and the lifestyle that he could have there, but in the end, he decided it wasn't for him. So the conclusion that my client came to was to turn down the opportunity before he even got the offer. And I was really curious as to why he wouldn't just want to see what they're going to offer him or if he even got the offer in the first place. The reason why he wanted to turn down the opportunity (I want to say opportunity instead of an offer) is that he didn't receive a formal offer yet. It was still just an opportunity he had interviewed for. He was very confident that they would offer him a position, but he wanted to turn down the opportunity before he received the offer. And I was like, "why do you want to do that? I'm curious, aren’t you curious? Let's see what we're gonna get." We, as in it's me and him. I'm really attached to my clients and their success. I shouldn't be, but I am. I'm really invested in your success. I want to know what opportunities you're going after.
So we really looked into this and what came up is he didn't want to waste the hiring manager's time, which really blew my mind. Like, "what do you mean, you don't want to waste the hiring manager's time?" And he's like, "well, they're going to put together the offer packet for me with all the details, and I'm just going to turn it down. So I'm just going to turn down the opportunity before they waste their time putting together the offer." And I was just kind of mind blown here. So let's look at that. Do we really know that the hiring manager is wasting their time? What else are we thinking about whenever we're doing this whenever you’re in this people-pleasing state? I asked him. I was like, why are you spending so much time thinking about the hiring manager's time and experience and not your own. That's so fascinating because when we're focused only on a hiring manager and manipulating our behaviors around what someone else’s experienced is going to be because he thought if he turned down the opportunity, before he got the formal offer, that he'd be saving the hiring manager's time. Therefore, the hiring manager would not be annoyed or frustrated with him. And that's really not true. We cannot control the emotional experience of others or the actions or reactions of others, and how they're going to perceive or accept us.
So with my client trying to save face by declining the opportunity before the hiring manager could put together the offer packet and the offer letter, he thought that he would save this relationship. And on the flip side, he thought that he would be ruining the relationship by declining the offer after receiving it, knowing that he was going to decline it anyways. This is also really interesting because isn't accepting and declining offers part of the deal? I think also the hiring manager wants you to accept it. They want to make it really enticing for you to accept it. But they also know the opportunity for you to decline is also there. It's always a yes or no, and of course, space for negotiation as well. But I thought this concept was valuable to bring here to the podcast to really evaluate how much time we are spending, thinking about other people and how they perceive us, especially in the workplace, where are we manipulating and changing our behavior to save face to prevent other people from having a negative emotion or a negative experience with us.
Now I want to go back into my client's experience and talk about what happened after he declined the offer. So he did get the offer. We decided during a coaching call that he was not going to decline the opportunity. He was going to wait for the offer to come in. That's when he was offered $300k in total compensation. He declined it at that time. And the hiring manager was very far from frustrated. The hiring manager actually offered him even more money, $330k, and then said, "Hey I'm going on leave." The hiring manager is going to have a child. "I'm going on leave until January. The opportunity is yours until then." Like the complete opposite of frustration. So whenever we're sitting here in this space, and we're assuming that the people we're interacting with are going to have this experience with us, frustration or annoyance or wasting their time. We're just assuming those things are going to happen. And we spin out and tell ourselves the story of what's going to happen if we act a certain way. So if my client thought that by declining the opportunity before the offer was even presented to him, the hiring manager was going to be frustrated or annoyed or not like him, or close off other opportunities in the future. This was an entirely false story that he was telling himself, and that wasn't the case at all.
So really, it's a lesson in understanding where you are manipulating and modifying your behavior to protect the emotions of others. Where you are assuming ahead of time how people are going to react or respond to you and your actions. And then where are we not poking holes in that story, the other side of it where actually something really amazing could be possible. Such as they could offer me way more money, they could extend the opportunity for me, I might have more flexibility, or they might put me in contact with someone else for whom I might be a better fit. There are so many different opportunities that could be available, but because they're spending so much time on the experience that someone else might have that might be negative, which is such a way more fun story for the brain to tell us this negative story than the positive one, right? It's really more of a primitive response. Our brains are very much primed to focus on the negative and what's not working, or what could possibly go wrong, instead of really diving into the other side where everything could work out really well in our favor, or even better than we could possibly imagine.
So I just thought that was a really fascinating story of how he was modifying his behavior and was going to turn down this opportunity before he was presented with this amazing offer. And what was more fascinating is that once he had got the offer of $300k and then soon to be $330k, even after he declined it, he was still able to leverage that compensation for another job opportunity that he plans on accepting later. So if he had sent an email, assuming the hiring manager was going to be frustrated or annoyed, he would have denied himself compounding compensation throughout his career lifetime. I think that is really unfortunate.
I'm thinking that we are all doing this in the workplace and in our lives in general. Where are we denying ourselves really amazing opportunities like this compounding compensation over the lifetime of your career because you're manipulating your behavior and modifying your behavior to satisfy other people? That was just really eye-opening to me. And I thought it was so valuable and worth sharing with you because you can also take this lesson and ask yourself, where am I walking on eggshells? Or where am I thinking about other people and really not focusing on myself in what my true desires were? Because my client really was curious. He really did want this offer regardless if he was going to decline it or not.
Whenever you're thinking about your career and growth, are you shutting the door to opportunities for you to grow? And for other promotions or projects or areas for expansion, by thinking that other people are going to turn you down, or other people are going to be frustrated, or other people are going to be annoyed with you, instead of thinking this could be really amazing. Or they might think that I'm a great person for this role. They could offer me even more than I'm going for. Those are the things that we can really think about when we're going after career growth, and just growth in general, which is where we can open the doors. And by opening doors, you're poking holes in the narrative that you're telling yourself that you're spinning out or that people are going to be annoyed and frustrated with you. It's really interesting and it's a great exercise in boosting your confidence as well because when you're thinking people are going to be frustrated or annoyed, you're not a really confident person, either. Right? There's a lot of doubt, a lot that goes along with this people-pleasing. Almost like an imposter syndrome of thinking you aren't worthy of getting this position or even getting the opportunity whether you're going to accept it or not. And then also having the power to accept or decline. It is totally in your lane to accept or decline an opportunity that feels right or aligned with you.
Alright, my client did not want to move to New York. So whether he got the opportunity/offer or not, he was going to decline. And by telling the hiring manager, "Hey, I'm not interested" before even putting the offer together, like "hey, don't waste your time on me, don't put the offer together for little 'ole me, I'm not worth your time." That is totally a confidence crusher. Instead, say, "Hey, yeah, I'm totally an amazing candidate, put the offer together for me, and I'll consider it." Because who knows what the opportunity could have been. But it's really empowering to know that you have that choice. And that also, people are serving you as well, the hiring manager's job is to create offers for you to accept or decline. That is their job. I don't know if they would be frustrated or annoyed. And if they are, how can we as humans adapt to experiencing frustration, to experiencing annoyance, whether it's ourselves or someone else having that emotional experience? What are we making it mean about ourselves that someone is frustrated with us or annoyed with us? You can do that now, whether it's in a future role, or your current position, or with partners in your life or family members who are frustrated or annoyed with you. How can you work with that? Can we play that out? Or if someone is experiencing that now if someone is frustrated with you, what do you do? What do you make that mean about you? Or do you say hey, like that's in their lane? They're allowed to be frustrated. They're allowed to be annoyed. Like, what if you just granted people permission to have whatever experience they wanted on this planet? How amazing would that be? If we were all allowed to be able to experience our full spectrum of emotions? Instead of saying, "Hey, I'm going to do this, I'm going to change my behavior to protect you from feeling annoyed, or to protect you from feeling frustrated because I don't want to be the person responsible for your frustration or your annoyance." It's just a really great exercise to practice. Ask, am I protecting someone from feeling annoyed or frustrated? Or do I want to continue to go after my desires and dreams? And I'll be here and be supportive if someone's going to be frustrated or annoyed with me while I go on that journey? Or am I going to keep myself back and hold myself back from achieving my desires and dreams to prevent people from having an emotional experience that they actually might not even have? Right?
Go back to my client when he was going to decline the opportunity, thinking that the hiring manager might have a negative emotional response to him declining, which wasn't true at all. The hiring manager offered him more money and extended the offer for a few more months. So think about where we're playing small in an attempt to protect people from an experience they may not even have. It's a very fascinating thing that we're doing with our brains. It's like this game of make-believe, or imagination that really isn't working out for us, or anyone else. Because someone actually might want you to ask for the project or might want you to decline the offer, or might want the opportunity to give you more money. Who knows? That's where it's really valuable to get really curious. Can you get curious about the possibility that someone may not be upset? Or if they are upset with you, how can you adapt to that? How can you say, hey, that's okay, they're allowed to be upset, I'm allowed to be upset? We're all humans here. I'm part of humanity. And that means that negative emotions are part of life. So we can really think about what's possible for us and put the possibility on a platter when we're going after these big goals, whether it's a new job, a promotion, a project, or even health, wellness, or fitness goals, if we have this platter of possibility open to us, and it's a spectrum of positive and negative, then really great things can happen. I could get an offer. And they can even offer me more money and extend the offer out by six months, or I cannot get the offer. And they don't like me, and I can really piss some people off. Where are you on the spectrum of accepting? What would feel good to you on the spectrum? And if you landed on either side, how would you feel? And how will you react? If you got the offer or not? Or if someone got upset at you for declining the offer? What would you do? I think that's a great exercise to play that out.
I did this with another client. We played out, hey, if you do get laid off, what's going to happen, and we played it out of here's all the emotions I'm going to feel. Here are the steps I'm going to take to adapt to this layoff. And she ended up getting laid off while on vacation and was able to handle it amazingly because we did all the work ahead of time, we experienced all the emotions ahead of time. So if you're going after big goals, if you have interview experience, if you're going to go ask for a promotion, if you are asking for more money, or whatever you're doing, play both sides of the story out, play out getting the rejection, what emotions are you going to feel? How are you going to feel those emotions, what is your experience going to be like, go down to that deep dark side of what's going to happen, and then also play the other side, hey, they're going to get this job. This is how I'm going to feel when I get this. How I'm going to act when I get this job. And you can really play out your future self. No matter what option happens to you, A or B or somewhere in between. What that does is that opens up this door to this new emotional experience for you to be able to adapt to someone's frustration or adapt to your new growth opportunity that's coming your way. And that I think opens up people-pleasing and kind of cracks the shell on people-pleasing because if we can absorb and handle our own emotional experience, I'm kind of like drawing a circle around me like a bubble, if someone is frustrated at me, you know, that's in their bubble and I can let it into mine. I can absorb their frustration or their annoyance with me or I can just let it bounce off. Right?
That's kind of like the talk of resilience that everyone's talking about right now. Especially with all the COVID-19 and the pandemic in 2020. And of course, in 2021 it’s like this word of resilience is how can we bounce back? And I don't even know that you have to bounce back at all. It’s like, “Hey, how can I let someone be annoyed with me and let someone be frustrated with me? If that's what's going to happen, how can I let that happen? Can I sit here and allow it?” I think that's the first step in a lot of this thought work and mindset work is this allowance. And I like the word allow almost more than accept, especially for all of my people pleasers and all of my self-critical brain clients out there. Acceptance can feel a little bit like defeat, instead of allowance, which is like, hey, I'm giving this permission to happen right now. I'm letting someone be frustrated with me. I'm letting someone be annoyed with me, or hey, I'm letting myself be really excited for this new opportunity, even if I'm going to decline it, or hey, I'm letting myself be really confident to go ask my boss for this promotion. So allowance is how we can kind of crack people-pleasing. How can we allow ourselves to go after what we want, but also allow someone else to be mad at us if we do?
So I'm going to leave that here for today. If you have any questions or thoughts about people-pleasing or you’re going after a big, juicy promotion or job opportunity and you feel like you are modifying your behavior, really dive into what you are not allowing? Are you not allowing yourself to be disappointed? Are you not allowing others to be disappointed in you if you decline or accept or ask for more? These are some really empowering questions that I hope you can apply to your life as you go after your dreams. Talk to you next week.
Thanks for joining this week on Thrive 9-5. If this episode hit home for you, because I know it did, join Thrive Weekly, a newsletter for people just like you who are looking to do success differently. The link to subscribe is in the show notes below. You can also follow along on Instagram @Celeste__Harrington and as always, subscribe to the Thrive 9-5 podcast so you can stay up to date as new episodes drop each week. I'll talk to you next time.