Today I want to introduce you to the idea of a full body yes. As a recovering people pleaser, I am not always sure what is my opinion and what is your opinion. Smarter people than me might refer to this as an issue with boundaries and codependency. That seems fancy. All I know is that I woke up one day and after over four decades of people pleasing there sure were not a lot of pleased people hanging around. 

Including me. 

Perhaps especially me. 

At this point in my life the situation was unsustainable and unproductive. It was time for an overhaul. If my life were corporate America, it would have been ripe for a hostile takeover. This line of thinking really planted itself in my brain recently after reading an article about conscious leadership

You are the leader of the enterprise that is you. Would you give the CEO of your life a raise right now? If the answer is no, it is worth taking a deeper look at who is in charge. Maybe you are like I was all those years ago and the inmates are running the asylum. It is time to act like Chief in One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest.

Rip out that sink, throw it through a wall and break loose!

If you are faced with a decision, check in with your gut and if it is not a full body yes, the answer is no. 

Practical Application

It seems really simple, right? Here are a couple practical tips that work for me when I am slipping back into people pleasing.

Stall. I often say yes and regret it later. I have a response that I have drafted and practiced. Yes, I literally wrote it down and practiced saying it out loud. I kept it in my email drafts for years so I would always have it in my hand. Now when someone makes a request I say, “That sounds great, let me confirm my schedule and get back to you.”

It is not a lie – everything sounds great in the moment. Tickets to a basketball game on a weeknight even though I am asleep by 9:00pm? Sure! Dinner with a large group on a Friday night when restaurants are packed and I’m hangry? Fun! All day rodeo? No, but it sure would make you happy so I am in!

Giving myself a timeout gives me a chance to check in with my gut. It allows me to check for the full body yes.

MVP. Having a Minimum (or Maximum) Viable Product (MVP) allows me to bump decisions up against something besides, “Will this make the other person happy?” For example, around this recent Christmas I had several activities I wanted to do, invitations I wanted to accept, and people I wanted to celebrate with. What has happened in years past is that I do all of this and cry every day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s because I am tired and overwhelmed. Then Bixby dropped this truth bomb on me during one of our lunch time walks: You don’t want to want what you want. 

Seriously – for a man of few words, he chooses them SO WELL.

I don’t want to be this introverted all the time, but well – here we are. So I established an MVP around holiday activities. Who was it critical I celebrated with? This is how a 24 hour car trip got on the books. What activities reflected Christmas spirit for me, not other people. I am sure “listening to Tracy Chapman’s O Holy Night on repeat while looking at the Christmas tree lights in a dark room” was not on any one else’s bingo card. There were a few other criteria and when an invitation or idea came in, I was able to ask:

Will this new thing leave room for my MVP things? Often the answer was clear. If it wasn’t then I went back to the basics: check in with my gut and if it is not a full body yes, the answer is no. 

Sustainable You Reflections

  1. Time to do a You Audit. If you were doing a performance review on the CEO of your life, what grade would you give?
  2. Where is that CEO falling short? Can you identify 2-3 areas of concern or low hanging fruit that would be a place to start?
  3. What obstacles does that CEO need removed in order to improve the performance that if your life?