Growing up, we see high achievers and overzealous ones rewarded for always striving to break down barriers. This goes for academia, athletics, and even in the arts. It’s admirable and commands a high level of reverence because it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to create new standards. However, this can be detrimental to those who prioritize over-performing at tasks. The mental and physical burnout that comes with never being able to simply meet standards because they must be overcome is terrifying. Overperforming sends the wrong message.
This not only creates an unhealthy level of stress on individuals, but it creates an insulated chamber of expectations. It is expected that these individuals are highflyers and they must do their best to shatter records. In their field, they must be the ones to excel.
No one should have to feel that pressure externally or internally.
For some, this insulated chamber is something that exists within because of a desire to please external voices. Early on, high achievers learn that if they perform well above average, they will be celebrated. Accomplished persons deserve their praise, but they also deserve freedom from unrealistic pressures. A person’s first critic must be themselves. If this doesn’t occur, then a people-pleaser attitude can be an attribute that hurts them in the long run.
When dealing with clients, a people pleaser is expected to go above and beyond. This could mean taking calls at the last minute, working past normal hours, or giving more than what was needed. From a client’s perspective, it’s great to have someone overdeliver and pay attention to small things. In fact, it’s a good deal to have someone do more than they are paid to because it should commitment.
However, if this is a recurring thing, thing clients and customers expect unrealistic results. If one day a barista gives a customer a latte on the house, is it fair that the customer demands a free latte at any point in time? Obviously not. Clear lines need to be drawn to show customers where they are being facilitated. This is a reward to them for being consistent. This is not a right they have.
High achievers have to learn to say no to customers when demands are excessive, but first, they need to recognize that it’s okay to not over-perform. They don’t need to make additional revisions without adding an additional cost. They don’t need to sacrifice their personal time to devote energy to clients or customers. They don’t need to spend time overthinking how to please someone who doesn’t value professional boundaries.
Weeding out clients and customers like this is a good thing. They are sponges that keep absorbing time, energy, and peace of mind. In turn, this costs a business money. It’s absolutely fine to reward good customers, but ensure that you don’t extend those rewards to those who are undeserving. A good professional relationship banks on mutual respect.