Are you a “Yes-a-holic”?
Do you say yes to everything only to find yourself exhausted, disappointed and frustrated?
Then you going to love this episode of Mimika TV. I was recently interviewed on another podcast and I just knew I had to share it with you.
It’s my raw and authentic story of how I ended up in bed and suffering from burnout from pushing myself too hard.
Listen in and be encouraged about how to work through people pleasing so you can focus on what pleases God.
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Being a “yes-aholic” is one of those people-pleasing syndromes, where we always are so worried about what everybody thinks. And we’re so concerned and wonder, “Is it gonna make them happy?” But here’s the thing: you can’t make everybody happy all the time. Somebody is going to get upset sometime. And if you come from the school of thought that I was raised in—where you’re going to be perfect and you’ve got to have it all together, and you’ve got to act like you have it all together even when you’re freaking out inside, and just make sure that you say yes to everything—this does not result in good, because at the end of the day, when you say yes to everyone else, you’re saying no to yourself.
Unfortunately, I experienced physical burnout where I couldn’t get out of bed for three months. I had pushed myself beyond my limits, coupled with the fact that I had had a very emotional year where I had a business failure, and very soon after, one of my kids went through severe mental health issues where we had to intervene. And then I lost my mother-in-law to cancer. So talk about a triple storm. It just piled up and piled up. I wasn’t watching the signs. I’m not very good at taking directions. My husband says I have two gears: I’m either full blast at a hundred miles an hour, or I’m completely full stop. And then I end up laid out on the bed, and that’s not exactly my idea of balance. So I’m working on it. I’m a work in progress. I have given up my membership to “Control Freaks Anonymous,” and I’m relearning new skills. So yes, I definitely know what that’s all about when you’re running on fumes and you just keep going, especially when you’re in leadership and you have people looking to you for advice or knowledge, and they expect the leaders to have it all together.
Unfortunately, leaders struggle, too, but it’s almost like they don’t want to feel like they can share their burdens because it almost makes them weak. So we keep this facade, like everything’s fine up here, but we are scrambling like crazy underneath. So yes, I can definitely say that being a people-pleaser is a very difficult place because it’s hard to keep up with it all. But if we can switch our thinking from being people-pleasing to be God-pleasing, and just stay focused on what He wants us to do, that’s really where success comes.
A lot of our people-pleasing habits come from, I believe, some junk in our trunk from our childhood. Take me as an example. I grew up in South Africa with an entrepreneurial father. And there was a lot of volatile anger issues and fear. So I only learned how to function in fear. Eventually, my parents got divorced when I was 10. And for me, it was all about, “Look at me, am I doing great?” I’d be thinking, “Do Mom and Dad love me? Look at me, I’m performing.” And I also did classical ballet training since I was three. So I’ve always been in performance mode: you’ve always got to pull it together, straight back and arms, and smile no matter how you’re feeling as you push through the pain. I do believe it is important to embrace the pain because that’s part of the process. But for some of us, it triggers something that gets us stuck. It’s almost like a stuck record, that no matter what emotions we feel as a child, they continue to follow us as adults.
What I’ve realized is that emotions don’t have an expiry date. So if you happen to be rejected when you were younger, or you had daddy issues, and coupled with that, when I was 13, I was severely bullied physically. I had that traumatic experience, which followed me. So I kept thinking, “What is wrong with me? What is wrong with me? What is wrong with me? Well, it must be what I’m doing. And maybe it’s with the way I look, the way I talk,” and things like that. Or maybe it’s with the skills and gifts that God gives us, for instance, being chatty. As you can tell, I love to talk, but I was always told, “Oh, shut up, shut up. You’re so bossy. You talk so much.” And eventually, you start to try to please everybody around you. And you start to be less of yourself. So for me, a lot of my people-pleasing came from growing up with a root of rejection. And here’s the thing. You could be 8 or 80; if you haven’t dealt with those roots that have been implanted in you way back when, they will keep producing fruit that you might not necessarily like. Then eventually what happens is we try to go into maintenance mode and we try to cut off a tree here and prune up a branch here. And we’ll pull off a fruit here. But if that tree was rooted in rejection or fear or anxiety or anger or whatever it was, it’s going to keep growing.
That’s why I believe that God is the Ultimate Gardener. He knows how to garden, how to help us to plow the soil to become good soil so we plant good seed. Then we can be watered and get the sunshine we need from His Word and eventually grow up to be trees that provide fruits and shelter to other people. That’s why I feel so passionate about this. For so many years, I got stuck on this “me, me, myself and I,” and I wanted to be the perfect soloist. Forget about being in a symphony; I wanted to be the soloist that would have it all together and have control. And that’s really what it comes down to, is when you’re in an environment where you feel you lack control, like even when you’re a child, and mom and dad are fighting and you feel like I can’t do anything about this, some of us make that promise to ourselves and evaluate ourselves saying, “I will never let anybody make me feel like this again.”
And that is a vow which God takes very seriously that eventually we make with ourselves, that no matter what, we are going to make this thing happen, which is a lot of what we see in society, with high-achieving millionaires and billionaires and celebrities. We always wonder why they achieve so much, yet they’re the most broken because a lot of the time, they’re trying to prove themselves to everybody else or trying to please everyone around them, especially actors. They’ve been trained to perform. So if you’re not performing, you’re not getting paid. It’s this never-ending cycle. But for us who aren’t in the public eye, but to have to deal with life on an everyday basis, if that seed of performance and perfection and people-pleasing isn’t dealt with, it’ll just repeat itself again and again and again.
So that’s why I’m so passionate about helping people walk through the process of uncovering and doing a work of inner healing, of inviting God into the situation and saying, “God, what are those hidden areas that maybe I didn’t even realize I had, maybe when I was six, something happened, and I shut down emotionally?” And I feel that in order for us to become victorious, we have to renew our minds. And what that means is we have to think differently. So what input are we putting in there? Because I can guarantee you, most people have a voice going on in their head. And sometimes, if you had to record what was going on in your head, you probably would never speak to somebody like that. “Oh, that was lame. What an idiot like, Ugh, gosh, no one’s gonna like you in that.” What a mean girl, like hello? Be quiet!
I’ve learned that I don’t have to listen to her. I call her “Miss Biyatchy”—she just needs to shush sometimes cause she ain’t gonna ruin or rule my life. So that’s what I would love to highlight to everybody today is that if you’ve seen the fruits of things in your life that you’re not happy with, let this be an invitation for you to look a little deeper, to ask God to come in and to highlight those areas. But it is a caveat. I will say it doesn’t come without a little bit of pain because without the pain, even as a gardener, if you have to uproot the weeds, you’re going to be sweating a bit and it’s going to be hard work. It’s not necessarily going to be easy, especially if the roots have been there for a long time. But let me invite you and say it’s well worth the process because once you’ve weeded your garden, all those fruits and trees and flowers that are there to grow and provide shelter and food and beauty to others will be far stronger and far more like long-lasting.
If people don’t deal with the root of rejection, they will implode and get very angry, and then anger creates depression. And I believe this is also why we have a big issue with mental health these days, because we have those hidden roots. We like to hide things under the carpet, especially in family relationships and dynamics. I meet and work with a lot of adults who still have issues with their parents, even though their parents are in their eighties, because of either abuse or not feeling loved or rejection or whatever it is. And sometimes it doesn’t have to be as serious as abuse, but it can feel like that. And I believe that God, in His graciousness, loves us just like a good father would.
It’s hard for those who’ve grown up in an environment where maybe we didn’t have a great example of a father who was good, and who was kind, and who was loving. So a lot of the time we have to put a little bit more hard work and uncover who God is and how he made us to be. I had a huge wake-up call when I had to deal with this life where God’s like, “Listen, you have to deal with this, whether you like it or not. Denial is no longer an option.” Things had come to a head physically.
And I believe disease is dis-ease because we are made up of three parts. We are a spirit, where God resides in Jesus and the Holy Spirit when we become saved. And then we have a soul, and the soul is often ignored. It’s the mind, the will, and the emotions. This is the area we need to deal with because once it gets through to our body, that’s when disease shows up. When your body is run down, it’s saying, “Hello, I can’t handle this mental, emotional strain I’m going through.” If you feel anxious, you get sweaty palms, your stomach gets tight. You might get a headache. You feel nauseous. Your body’s saying, “Hello. Somebody pay attention to me.” So that’s why I’m a big proponent of, not just popping a pill; I’m not saying don’t take your medication. What I’m saying is the approach to fixing problems isn’t to placate them or hide them or mask them.
We really need to address them. If you put your hand on a hot fire, your body’s response is going to tell you to take your hand off of there. It’s hot, it’s hurting. But what we’ve done in modern society, we’ve created entertainment. We’ve created apps. We’ve created phones. We’ve created everything to distract us from dealing with the important things. It’s almost like people are uncomfortable with their own company. And they’re uncomfortable with the silence, like being silent and thinking, “Why am I thinking like this? Why am I feeling like this?” If I’m feeling anxious, instead of me just placating it with food, or drinking, or whatever it is. Even for me, my addiction was performance. “How can I do something? Let me do, do, do, do.” If I wasn’t working, I didn’t feel I was being effective enough because I didn’t want to stop and smell the roses.
I realized I needed to make a change. The trajectory alternatively would have been if I continued down that path, I would have been destructing myself as well as those around me. I always believed that the man is the head of the home, but the woman is the heart. If her heart is broken, it affects everybody. The children, even the pets and the rest of the family, are going to pick up mom’s moods. So if her heart is broken and she’s bringing brokenness from her past, I can guarantee you, there are going to be really difficult relationships with families. And what’s so sad is how things get perpetuated from one generation to another; we have brokenness in one generation and then the next generation doesn’t want to deal with it.
And then it just becomes a habit. And the culture within a family gets passed down and down and down. And eventually, the cycle continues. So let me invite everybody today that this is your opportunity to stop the cycle. If you’re in a family, whether it comes from generational curses and that’s a whole other story, but if you have something in your family and your life, and you realize this is something that needs to change, allow yourself to be the advocate. Raise your hand and say, “Yes, God, I want to stop this. Help me fix this for myself and my family.” Because this is what I really realized in the crazy year that we’ve all lived through—2020. 2020 gives us hindsight, right? And insights. And even though we’ve had the craziest of the world, what I’m excited about is that people are finally stopping to breathe, and to think, and to reassess.
For example, a husband’s been commuting to work every day, an hour and a half every way, never seeing his kids. And all of a sudden, he’s been forced to work from home. Then he goes, “You know what, I can work from home. I don’t need to be traveling anymore.” Necessity breeds creativity. So I’m excited about how the world is being forced to slow down. Hashtag the rat race has been canceled. Hooray, finally! We can actually get off that bandwagon and start to think, “Is this how I’m meant to be? Is this what God designed me for? Maybe I’m in the wrong situation, or the wrong place, or the wrong job, or the wrong life, or the wrong time.”
Sometimes, we can try fight and pretend that things aren’t right. But allowing God to realign us into our purpose, saying, “This is what I designed you to be. Stop worrying about Susie Q and what she’s doing with her business. Because she made money doing that, it doesn’t mean you can by copying her tactics.” What has God got for you? Stop trying to please the world; focus on what God has for you. Put those blinders on. I’m preaching to the choir because this is something I have to deal with all the time. And I’m not to say I have this handled. I have to remind myself daily because I know it’s one of my weaknesses. I have to remind myself, “What has God got for me today? Is this for me?” And that’s when you realize you can shift from a scarcity to an abundance mindset.
When you’re in scarcity, you think that all the opportunities are going to be gone tomorrow. If you don’t take them up, if you don’t do this then someone else is going to steal your idea or someone else is going to get that opportunity you feel you deserve. That’s a scarcity mindset and that’s not how God wants us to function. He wants us to function from an abundance mindset. So when we see Susie Q doing well in her business, you can applaud her and say, “Oh, that’s so awesome. I’m so excited for you.” It’s going to motivate me to want to do better for myself. So that’s why I’m super passionate about what I do and excited because I’ve seen the transformation in shifting people’s thinking and helping them to really understand, like kind of taking the blinders off. I’m great in helping people to peel the layers back, to understand, “What is the core of who God made me to be, and where does God need me?”
Because here’s another thing, as adults, we get more mature, but sometimes we can still behave in a very immature manner. If you think about a five-year-old who meets Santa, he sits on his lap. “Santa, I want this and I want a car and I want this and that…etc.” And that’s often how we approach our relationship with God as we come to Him with a Christmas list. Then we get disappointed on Christmas Day when things don’t arrive as planned, and we feel sorry for ourselves. But God isn’t like that. He wants us to partner with Him because we are meant to be an army, we are meant to be going out there to help others. And if we start worrying about our own little list and what we didn’t get and how we wanted our prayers answered, we get stuck.
So again, it all comes down to who are we pleasing, who are we focused on, and who do we want to make happy? At the end of the day, once we shift that focus and say, “God, I know You have more than enough for me; it doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing around me.” Sometimes, it’s their time. Sometimes, they’ve put in 10 or 20 years of hard work to get this success. There’s no point in me being jealous of that and feeling “woe is me” and having a pity party because I don’t feel like it’s working for me. We need to shift into that abundance and know that God has more than enough for me and His timing is perfect. Remember, God’s the Ultimate Gardener. Just like when we look outside, we see the seasons. If you’re in a winter season, it feels like there’s no growth, and the ground is hard, and it feels like it’s dry, and it’s arid.
And a lot of people are like, “God, give me the first get-out-of-jail card.” And I can tell you, the winter season is actually when the most growth happens. Because if you think about when you plant the seed, first of all, you go to toil the soil, which can be hard, and get those rocks out and all those bad roots out. Then we plant the new seed, but we don’t see the growth immediately. Germination happens in the dark, and it’s dirty and it’s cold and nobody knows what’s going on. But at the right time, when the season changes and the timing is right, God says, “Okay, now it’s time for you to break through. You are strong enough. You have the roots that are rooted in God, exactly where you need to be. You’re in the right garden patch.”
And then you can start to grow. Eventually, that crop will extend past and get so much further because God is a God of multiplicity. He doesn’t believe in us gaining and doing things for ourselves. Just think about how Jesus was, like with the whole story of the loaves and fishes. A lot of people know this story is about faith, but for me, I see it as God saying, “I believe in your little things, I believe in your small beginnings; you just give it to Me and together we can multiply it.” So that’s why I’m so excited about helping people refocus themselves, realign themselves, and say, “God, what do You have for me? Let me partner with You because it’s much easier to partner with You than to try to do it all myself, off way over there, where I’m not even meant to be.” When that happens, we become more effective and much more productive for what He wants us to do in our lives.
Well, I’m so excited to have the opportunity where I can do the things I love. Because back when I was a kid, I always loved writing and I had my little journal, and I got all those things out and I never thought for one moment that I could actually do these things as an adult. And again, bringing the people-pleasing thing, I just did things and ended up in marketing and business, which I’m happy about, but I still didn’t have that connection to what I wanted to do. So fast forward all these years, after I experienced that really difficult time with my family where I had the physical burnout, I’d realized that I was going through something that needed time. And during that process, I reverted to my old habits of journaling because I like to process things through writing.
As I was going through these things, dealing with the grief and the anxiety and all these things as I was journaling, God was saying, “You are in the process of writing a book.” And I was like, “What? Say what, what are you talking about? No one’s meant to see this. This is nasty. I don’t want anyone to see this.” But I didn’t go through this for no reason; not to say that God caused the pain, but He can use it. He says, “This can be great fruit for other people to help them through the same thing.” And that’s what I realized. It hit me like a ton of bricks, that writing and sharing my testimony and story have power because it says in the Word, “There is power in our testimony and in the blood of the Lamb.”
Which means that when we share with others how God has helped us through a situation, it empowers them to take the steps that they need to get unstuck and to move towards their blessing. So through that process, I realized I was writing a book. Previously, I had written more how-to marketing books in the business space. But in 2016, I felt the Lord was calling me to share my story. And at first I was like, “Oh my gosh, I fought this. I didn’t really want to do this. This is scary. Why do I want to do this?” But I realized it wasn’t about me; it was about the people that I was made to help. So I published the book. The first one was Worrier to Warrior: A Mother’s Journey from Fear to Faith, which is my story of walking through this dark period, going through what some people call the “dark night of the soul,” working through that in a healing process and allowing God to walk me through step-by-step, everything from fear and anxiety, pride, depression, people-pleasing, rejection and looking at it from a scriptural perspective.
And since then, like I say, once the bug bites and you realize how important books are and when you get onto this, and now that I’ve got my system down, I can actually write them much quicker. So right now I’m in the draft process of writing my book number nine, which is called Heart of a Champion: How Ordinary People Achieve Extraordinary with God. And the reason why I’m excited about this is it empowers people to realize that they don’t have to be super special. If you just think about it, we think about the characters in the Bible, and we’re like, “Oh, Mary and Daniel and Joseph, they were so amazing. And they were so special. They must’ve been born with a halo around their head.”
But what I realized is they were just ordinary people. The big difference is they were completely surrendered and they said yes to God. That is it. That’s all the requirement God needs. He just needs a willing heart, somebody who’s able to do the work, no matter what their mistakes are. Even if you look at King David, everyone thinks he was a fabulous king, but we know he messed up real bad. But when God saw him as a kid, he saw something in him that he could use because he was teachable. He was surrendered and he was willing to do what God wanted him to do. We all know the story of when David killed Goliath, and everyone’s like, “Whoa, what a hero!” And that’s why I believe mindset is so important because if you think about the story, when he was there, his brothers had been camped out in the valley opposite to where Goliath and his camps were.
And in the Bible, it says that every day Goliath would come out, taunting them and teasing them and verbally abusing them. And then David comes along and he’s like, “I’m going to go take my brothers some food and put something in my rucksack.” And he asks them, “Hey bro, why are you all so sad? What’s with the long faces?” And they respond, “Ooh, we’re not going to win this; this Goliath out there, he’s taunting us.” So David goes out the tent, looks at this dude and sees him acting belligerently and shouting profanities. And he’s like, “Oy! Did you just insult my God? I’m going to give you a piece of my mind.” Out he takes a stone and throws this stone and whacks him dead. He severed him from his mind, and he took action because he was not privy in being in this environment of being abused and being told what an idiot or how bad or how stupid he was. He didn’t believe that because he had stayed focused on God. And the other thing to remember is, he even tried to put the armor on and it wasn’t going to help, because if it doesn’t fit, if the outfit doesn’t fit, it’s not going to work for you. What tools worked for him were the smooth stone, the sling, because he spent hours and hours and hours on the brook looking after his sheep, minding his own business, practicing. So God will always use what we already have. He doesn’t expect us to be something we’re not.
And that’s why it ties back to the people-pleasing thing. We ought to stop trying to please everyone and wear somebody else’s shoes. I have this saying that I created a Pinterest graphic that says, “Trying to wear someone else’s shoes is ill-fitting, uncomfortable, and not my style, because what is the point of walking in someone else’s shoes, if they clearly don’t fit?” So that’s why we need to think, “Are we doing things in a way, using the tools, wearing the outfit, being in the situation to please everybody else?” Because we cannot be effective if we are walking in someone else’s path. So that’s why it’s so important to understand that we all have a champion within us. We all have that calling, God’s looking, He’s searching, He’s roaming the earth, looking for people willing. If we’re just willing to say, “Hey, God, use me however You want. I will give up my ‘Control Freaks Anonymous’ card. I will stop trying to be perfect. You just use the loaves and fishes I’m giving You.”
And it might not feel like much, but God is the God of multiplicity. He is the One who helps to grow that. As long as we’re willing and able and will surrender, He will do great things in us. I would just say don’t give up hope; you are not alone. Because a lot of the time when we go through hard things, the enemy tries to keep us in isolation. Especially if we think about the world we’re living in and how we are kept separate from everyone else, that is really how we are. We are on our own. And we’re left to our own devices with our own thoughts. Sometimes, we can get to all sorts of trouble. So let me encourage you today to reach out, find resources, read books, listen to podcasts, watch videos, connect with other people, broaden your mindset.
Because at the end of the day, you can only grow personally when you have awareness; you living in denial is not an option anymore. We have to deal with these issues. If we want breakthrough, we can no longer throw our own pity parties and be victims in the corner. We have to decide today whether we are willing to stand up, do the hard work, and be the victors we want to be. Because there are two ways is to go through something, and the only way to endure that is to push through and embrace the pain, because without pain, there is no gain. And that’s why I’m excited to share that with people and just embrace that sort of go-getter, everyone can do this. It’s not just a sugar-coated yay, being a cheerleader; no. People who know me and get connected to me know that I am a straight shooter. I’m going to tell you that ain’t working.
One thing I didn’t mention earlier was, I should do competitive figure skating, but I knew I was not a skater as a kid. I learned to skate at the age of 33, after going to the rink with my daughter during a birthday party, and realized it was something I always wanted to do. Now, my background is at ballet dance, and we were always taught to have a straight back, shoulders back type. But you cannot do that on the ice. It’s counter-intuitive; you will fall over. So as a personal mission for the last 10 years, I have been retraining my mind and my body and my muscle memory to adapt to this new way of doing things. And the only way to do that is through repetition, doing it again and again. I’ve had a coach that I show up to at the rink every week. Every Tuesday, she knows I’m going to be there and she will not let me off the hook because accountability is important. I would much rather stay at home in my jammies, thank you very much. But if she’s not going to tell me to get off my tushes and get myself on the ice, whether I feel like it or not, it’s not going to happen. Some days are good days; some days are bad days. I even arrived there when I’d gotten sick one day, and she’s like, “You don’t look well enough. You need to turn on and go home.” But I made myself go there.
So I would encourage people today that if you want to grow, first make the decision that it’s time for change. Denial is out the window. Second of all is being aware that there is a problem, because if we don’t realize we have a problem, we cannot fix it. And thirdly is to make the decision and to take baby steps. Whether it’s to go for a walk each day, or change your diet, or read a positive book, or listen to a podcast, or start writing the book that you want by journaling, start with baby steps. Because there’s a thing called compound interest.
Einstein came up with the theory of relativity. But the most important thing he talked about was compound interest, that little disciplines practiced every day will eventually result in the success that you need to get to where you want. It’s not this overnight success thing that, “Oh gosh, put it in the microwave and for two seconds and it will be done.” Sorry, honey, that’s not life. So I’m really excited about being able to share this and training with a book that’s coming out, as well as a mainstream program that’s going to accompany the book to help people walk through this process because I know the importance of accountability. I can hand you a book and it’s great and your life gets busy, but if someone’s not going to say, “I’m going to see you Tuesday, we’re going to show up and do this,” it’s not going to happen. So I’m really excited about connecting with people and sharing those resources.
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