How to Stop Pleasing People and Start Delighting Them

Are you a people-pleaser?

Are your days filled with other people’s priorities?

With tasks that distract you from your greatest work and highest purpose?

If so, it’s killing your business and your motivation.

It’s time to stop merely pleasing people and start delighting them.

The Benefits of Delight

Pleasing – or better said, appeasing – people is what everyone does.

It’s easy (and tempting) in the moment to say “yes” to in-bound requests.

Quickly though this approach steals your time, your effort, and causes internal resentment – which leads to mediocre performance.

Your requestors are appeased, but no one is delighted.

Delight is something all-together different.

Delight is when you open up a package, see that it’s beautifully wrapped, and then notice a bonus gift that you didn’t order or pay for.

Delight is when a client asks for a few bullet-points over email, but receives instead a beautifully formatted, well-thought out proposal with some extra services that you offer.

If you want to seperate yourself and your work, delight is the way to go. Delight has three major benefits:

  • Delight is valuable. Being delighted is rare, and therefore extremely valuable. Delight will win you business and allow you to raise rates.

  • Delight is noteworthy. Whether it be the new iPhone, a trip to Costa Rica, or a great plumber, people talk about things that delight them. Delight gets people talking about you, which leads to more business and better rates.

  • Delight is fun. You get giddy when someone is about to open an unexpected gift from you. That’s because delighting others is fun! Make it your mission to delight others and work will be fun again.

The Price of Delight

Delight though comes with a price.

I’m currently working on my first interactive coaching course to be offered here in the coming weeks.

To be sure that it’s an absolutely world-class experience that knocks your socks off, I’ve had to make some sacrifices:

  • I cut my corporate consulting hours in half, which means leaving a lot of money on the table in the coming months.

  • I had my assistant restrict my meetings and calls to only a few set times during the week, which means some people will not get on my calender and may be hurt.


I’d rather delight a few people than please everyone. – Click to Tweet

So if you too want to be in the business of delight here’s three things to know:

  • Delight takes time. Time is a finite resource, which means (unlike money) you can’t make more of it. Offering services that truly delight, then, requires you to sacrifice time spent on activities that merely please.

  • Delight takes focus. Trying to do several things at the same time, hoping all of them will delight, is a recipe for disaster. Start with one pursuit, deliver delight, then (and only then) add another.

  • Delight takes passion. It’s hard to deliver delight when you don’t care. Find activities and pursuits that light you up and engage in those to delight others.

Delight and Your Desires

There’s a scripture that I love that deals with delight:

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. – Psalm 37:4

I think there’s a corrolary in business:

Delight yourself in your customer and she will give you the desires of your business.

With that in mind, I’d love the opportunity to delight you.

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Question: How are you going to deliver delight? And to who? Let us know in the comments.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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8 thoughts on “How to Stop Pleasing People and Start Delighting Them

  1. Great post that really resonates with my work recently. We are building a collaborative community for social entrepreneurs in DC (, and I am constantly distracted by others requests and concerns of how peers/former colleagues will view our community once we launch next Monday. This article helped remind me to focus on the DELIGHT that we will be providing to those who join our community and start working with us…and to stop worrying about others as much. Thanks!

    Side note: I met a cute girl in a coffee shop a few weeks ago and described her as “delightful” to my friends – spot on description haha

    • Nice, Malloy! Focusing on delighting others does indeed take our focus off of ourselves in a way that keeps us from all the worry that can creep in when we are self-focused.

      P.S. Funny how something – or someone – who is delightful gets so quickly talked about :)

  2. Thanks for this post! Although I was giggling at myself that I saw your post on Twitter – people pleasers read this. And I was like ok, sure I’ll read it if you want me too…;)