People-pleasers are known for doing whatever it takes to make other people happy. So we’re in the business of people-pleasing then?
I grew up being one. A people pleaser. It makes sense that when I stumbled into my first creative department I leant on what I knew. I thought my job was to come up with ideas that made my creative director happy. If my ideas made the client happy then even better. So when this started to work I thought it was the formula for success.
It was only when my then creative partner Adam Kirby and I started freelancing at Forever Beta, and began working with Matt Saunby, that I learnt this approach only gets you so far. Saunby, a ball of energy and award-winning ideas, taught me that instead of looking for validation for ideas and a pat on the back, I should be looking to make what excites me. If I’m energised by an idea then I’ll put so much more into making it great. I remember following Saunby on this journey when he had an idea that got him going. For example, when I found myself in a recording studio at 12am on a Saturday remixing a dance track that told the story of bringing dinosaurs back to life. It was bonkers. It was awesome fun. I love the work we made.
Only this year I slipped back into bad habits at just the wrong time in a project. “The clients are really happy with the edit” I was told. Everyone was happy with it. Everyone apart from me. Every time I see that work I kick myself. The right creative can’t keep everyone happy. The process of making great creativity should have people scared. Uncomfortable. For most people, this is a no-brainer. But, for me, inherently a people pleaser, it’s something I keep having to remind myself of.
So what’s my biggest lesson so far? Don’t make ideas that you think will excite people but that doesn’t excite you. Don’t compromise on the process to make people's lives easy or them happy. Fight the inner people pleasers.