Striking the Balance of “Just Say Yes” and “Learning to Say No”

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Striking the Balance of “Just Say Yes” and “Learning to Say No”

On any given day in the blogosphere (as those in the know like to call it), you can find people talking about this notion of learning to say no. To me, the sheer number of professionals, stay at home moms/dads, bloggers, friends, etc talking about this must mean it’s a big deal and an issue with which many struggle.

Generally in life, I’m a big “yes” person. In an ideal world, I say yes to random invitations, dates, friend’s shows/gigs, house gatherings where I know one person and the like.

However, life doesn’t always play out that way, and sometimes we gotta make the difficult decisions when there’s too much going on. As someone with her fair share of equally competing priorities, I’m here to provide some perspectives and tips that could help. And I work with my coaching clients on this stuff A LOT, so it’s pretty much ‘a thing’:

Determine What Gives You Energy…And What Takes It Away: In other words, what works for you? Maybe you’re a closet or not-so-closet introvert and need recharging time. Ok so you know that about yourself – GREAT! Now you can make adjustments to your calendar to allow for that recharge time, so that when you’re out there networking or dating or performing or hustlin’, you’re able to do you.

Link Your Values To Your Priorities: Values can change both over time and at certain times in our lives and thus, priorities change. Late last month, I touched upon this while discussing prioritizing something for the first time. Even if you know it’s something that’s important to you, it’s difficult to break free of your own preconceived notions or assumptions about something or break free of whatever everyone else is doing to go for whatever it is you’re aiming for. In some of the things I’ve recently chosen to prioritize- dating, my business, et al, very few people around me were doing the same, which made the decision to finally do it all the more difficult. But really taking stock on what matters to you at this point in your life- and maybe even writing them down into affirmations statements- can help. Other questions to ask yourself:

  • If you prioritized X right now, how would your life be different 3 months from now? 6? A year? Why is that important or why does that matter?
  • If you continued doing things the way you are now, what would remain the same? How would you view your life 3, 6 and 12 months from now?
  • Where in that scenario are you ‘just settling’?

Own Your Decision: It’s not always awesome to choose what you choose. Sometimes you may feel uber conflicted about it. A few weeks ago, I chose a really important networking event for my growing coaching business over a friend’s show. It, like, wasn’t easy at all, given I’ve always valued and prioritized my friendships, but when I looked at it through the lens of building my business and how important that was to me, I settled upon my decision.  And I got some pushback from mutual friends- “You’re not going?!” For one of the first times, instead of getting defensive or overly explainy, which I tend to do, I owned it. Phrases like, “I know it’s tough, but right now XYZ is very important to me and I’m excited to see this opportunity through,” are clear, empathetic and clearly demonstrate the link between what’s important to you (your values) and your priorities.  And if you ever fall back into the “oh man, I should have done XYZ,” remind yourself that you’re honoring yourself and what’s important. Think of how you might feel if you chose the event not in line with your values and priorities.

Bottom line here: People operate best when they do what’s right for them. A very important distinction here, though: This is not the same thing as selfishness. This article is basically saying that if you do what’s important to you- whatever that regimen of self care is- then whenever you’re out there interacting with colleagues, friends, strangers in the workplace, at networking events or socially, you’ll be the best possible version of yourself and be able to be fully present…wherever you are.