Hot to Disappoint Others and Still Excel Professionally

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Learning to disappoint others is an essential skill for career success — but that doesn’t make it easy. Follow these 5 tips to get better at saying NO.

I grew up a people-pleaser, thinking that if I could take care of everyone else, then I would be granted total life success. This was partially true; people-pleasing has really helped me. I’ve always been a great student and have excelled professionally. I’ve even been called charming. Still, being overly accommodating has also hurt me professionally. My fear of disappointing others has made me sacrifice my own honest opinions in order to be likeable. I’ve gotten so worried about coming off well in a meeting that I’ve overlooked important details in projects. And when I’m not expressing myself fully, I become increasingly passive-aggressive, which can block progress and hurt professional relationships.

It has taken me years of rigorous self-examination, but I’ve learned that disappointing others is often an essential step to success in my career. This doesn’t make it easy. Each time I have to disappoint someone or challenge a majority opinion, I need a big internal pep talk. But I do it in order to thrive as a professional — and as a human being. Here are my five strategies to help you wisely disappoint other people.

 

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