One of my clients was telling me how they feel overwhelmed because of all the commitments they feel they have been guilted into making. She knew I had wrestled with this lately and wanted to know my solution.
I think she was disappointed to find out my magic bullet was to simply say “No” more.
Here is an exchange where I turned someone down recently …
He was right, if I really HAD to I could have MADE time, but as I said in my response … I didn’t have to and no amount of pleading was going to change that. I had my schedule, I had my priorities, and I passed on the opportunity. If we made time for every request like this we would never get anything of our own done.
We often say “Yes” out of friendship, loyalty, or because we don’t want to pass on this opportunity for fear future ones will not be forthcoming. All good reasons for agreeing.
But all the same, we have to say “No” more if we are going to give our own projects priority.
Too much in my career I have been tending someone else’s garden, only to find my own withering and unloved.
Saying “No” is not rude. In fact it is more polite than agreeing to something you have no chance in your wildest dreams of giving 100% commitment to.
And that is the GOOD opportunities, requests and appeals. It is insanity agreeing to something where you would get used, give you a whole world of pain, and to be discarded afterwards. But we do. All the time.
By saying “No” to the stuff that is wrong for us right now we have more capacity to say “Yes” to the stuff that is right.
Start saying “No” more. It’s the right thing to do.