Here’s a saucy question to get yourself thinking: What if being nice isn’t actually that nice? First, let me tell you, I’m a “nice” person and I work with a lot of “nice” people. We’re good people. We want to do good in the world, help others, make this a more beautiful place, all while having this desire to be liked by everyone. That last part is when we get in our own way. That is when nice stops being nice. This is where we will start our journey together today. Being nice can be the very thing that is holding you back from your truest potential, and holding back others from theirs as well.
Here are three ways that being nice can be, well, not that nice and some journal questions to help you step out of nice-girl energy and into the fully-expressed bold you God made you to be.
3 Ways that Being Nice Really Isn’t That Nice
You Hold Back Your Own Gifts
When you have the desire to be liked and to belong, then being different than the rest or speaking up in a way that you haven’t before can make you feel at risk of standing out and create possibly of having people not like you. And as a person who loves to be liked, this can feel like one of the scariest things in the world.
What you’re really doing is you’re holding back your genius, expertise, vision, wisdom and innovate thinking skills to either help a person, improve a situation, or stand up for what is right. When you hold this back you could potentially holding back your job or your own business from helping more people. And my guess is, if you’re a nice person you’re also in the business of helping whether that be in your business or in your corporate job. So, this essentially is sabotaging the very values that you stand for, all for the sake of belonging to a crowd, feeling included and being liked. When you think of it that way… well… ouch, right? Not nice at all.
You’re Actually Kinda Pissed Off on The Inside
Nice people can be really good at performing. We put a smile on our face and go with the flow for the sake of remaining likealbe and “not rocking the boat.” While you’re hard at work appearing to be nice, on the inside you may be stoming around and throwing a fit. What’s happening inside the you really isn’t nice at all. You’re starting to get resentful, annoyed, frustrated, impatient and likely even extremely judgmental of the very people you are being “nice” to.
But again, you just want to be liked so you remain quiet and boundaryless. You don’t teach people how to treat you and instead keep going with it, until you can’t anymore.
This is where something I’ve called the Tolerance Scales come in. At first you can tolerate things like sitting in meetings where no decisions are ever made, talking in circles, offering feedback and having it not be heard, aksing your spouse to help with something and having no follow through. And then ever so slowly, the scales start to tip. Those meetings you didn't mind are now becoming the very thing you despise. And that leads us back to problem number one… you hold back your gifts. So at these meetings you either check out or you start thinking unkind thoughts about others in the room rather than using your brain for good and helping the greater cause. Or with your partner, instead of simply sharing why you’re frustrated you just let that list grow and grow in your head while you stomp about the house making sure they can hear every cupboard door you’ve closed.
Again… sooo not nice.
Your niceness is costing your job or your business time and money.
I coached a gal who was continuing to feel ongoing resentment and frustration in her workplace. The inefficiencies and lack of awareness were driving her crazy, but she had reservations on speaking out abou them. When I began to poke around the situation a little more and get deeper into it with her, she had this realization: “I don’t want to make a bunch of old men feel dumb.”
And let me tell you, this coaching client of mine is a smart, high achieving owman. That’s the thing with the people I work with, especially the nice ones. They are smart, efficient, talented, high achieving, innovative people. But yet, they also don’t want to appear to be too bold out of fear that is may come across as demanding, bitchy, or too much for those around them. Again, all pointing back to the desire to be liked.
But by this particular client keeping quiet about inefficiencies in the work place, she was potentially holding them back not only from big profits, but also valuable time and even bigger than that, quality employee retention.
As we flip the narrative of “I’m just a nice person” you can see how your niceness can be the very thing that is getting in the way of you playing big in this life where you know you’re meant to do, be and spread more good.
The truth is that you can be kind and speak up. In fact, being direct is the kindest thing that anyone could do. Could you truly imagine a world where we, especially as “nice people,” actually meant the words that we said? Imagine a world where we didn’t have 18 lays of hidden agendas, assumptions or unclear expectations behind the words we spoke out.
If you’re a nice person who is tired of tolerating the price of being nice-all-the-time grab a pen and paper to journal out you answers to these questions:
To take a deeper dive, listen to the latest podcast episode on this topic: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/kelly-mcintee/episodes/7--What-if-being-nice-isnt-always-nice-e21mspg