It’s funny sometimes when you think about the things people ask you to do vs. what you actually want to do. You know what I mean? Do you ever find yourself saying yes and agreeing to participate in activities or events when you really don’t think you’re the best person for the job or perhaps you actually have other plans? Unfortunately, it happens to the best of us. We don’t want to let our friends or family down. We want to get ahead in our careers – and that results in pressure to say yes to every request. We don’t want to miss out on something fun, even when we know we have other, more important tasks to accomplish. Whatever the case may be, learning to say no is an essential quality for maintaining a balanced and healthy life. Let’s take a look at a few different circumstances and the ways you can come from a place of no, yet still remain positive and be seen as a contributor.
With your kiddos. This one should actually be the easiest, however it often feels like the most difficult in your ongoing commitment to keeping them happy and well-adjusted. Sometimes when we get busy in other aspects of life – work and other commitments – the guilt sets in. And, suddenly you find yourself saying yes to requests from your kids that really should be a hard and fast no. While it may be easier said than done, you have to remind yourself that even when you want to make them feel happy in that moment, you’re ultimately looking out for their long-term well-being. So, next time they want to stay up late night after night or your older children are begging for a later curfew – remind yourself: it’s ok to stick to your beliefs and maintain a sense of structure.
At work. Sometimes at work it’s easiest just to say yes. You know those moments – when it’s just faster and more simple to do it yourself. You’re concerned that if you don’t keep everyone happy all of the team you’ll be overlooked for a promotion or you’ll be seen as a slacker. Here’s the thing: you won’t. On the flip side when you lay the groundwork for your limitations and you do an excellent job training your team to get things done, you’ll be seen as an effective manager who understands the power of delegation. And, that is way to move up that ladder. When you stretch yourself too thin at work, when you become stressed and nervous, it’s noticeable and many times can be pretty unbecoming. When you’re organized, poised and you position your team for success – that gets positively noticed.
With your friends. It’s all too easy to become that friend. The one who says yes to everything, picks up the tab at every restaurant and plans all the get-togethers. But every once-in-a-while, it’s OK to have another friend extend that same sense of love and friendship to you. Here’s the tough part: if you’ve always been the one to keep everything going, it’s tough for a group of friends (or even one friend) to make that transition to picking up where you left off. You’re going to have to have that tough conversation, letting him or her (or the group) know where you stand and what’s bugging you. If you approach this from a place of love, it will be well-received. And, more than likely, your friend(s) didn’t even realize how you felt. Bottom line: honesty is the best policy.
With yourself. This relationship is the most challenging of all. The pressures we instill on ourselves to do everything, be everything and overachieve are the toughest to overcome. But, here’s the thing: do you really need to say yes to everything, be the chairperson for every event, attend every sports game and volunteer all the time just to know you’re being the best person you can be? Probably not. Will you become resentful of this overly busy and over-extended schedule if you do commit to everything? Yes. Turns out, being happy and fully content is rooted in a place of balance – and achieving balance means finding time for yourself….sometimes, doing nothing at all. And, that is OK.
Do you find yourself overextending and saying yes to way too much? Can you instill some of the tactics above the next time you start to feel overextended?