Positive Vibes — Just Say NO!
John: The eraser is definitely more important than the lead on the pencil.
Nowhere is this truer than our daily lives. You need to take things away and you need to say no. People ask me why I say no so much, it is because saying yes is so expensive. it costs me time.
I saw a friend last week that I hadn’t seen in a couple months. He was supposed to meet me at 9am, but he connected by 11, and throughout the day I couldn’t help but notice how much he was yawning. He was also eating and drinking. a lot. and a lot of not so healthy foods. When I asked what was up, he recited a litany – up at 5am, drives an hour to the gym before work, then works all day, hits the hour commute back home, and then takes his new stepdaughter to soccer practice every night. His weekends are packed with games, and writing blogs and spending time with his new wife.
He asked me what I do – I said, work, Kel, baseball, that’s it.
He asked how I stayed so fresh. I said I take things out of my life. You should do the same. He seemed confused, like what I told him was a critique.
I said, just remember this is the life you chose. You set it up that way. We parted. I felt bad for him.
I’ve been down this road before and know where it ends, but what he does is not my choice. It is my choice to keep it simple.
Well not really a choice, but a methodology. We will get into that next week.
How’s that for a cliffhanger?
Sandy: Wise words John. What you’re talking about is setting boundaries. Figuring out what works for you and what doesn’t, and then being able to say yes to the things that are good for you, and say no to those that don’t.
In order to do this, we have to be aware of our motivations. Are we saying yes to things we don’t want to do because we think we ‘should’? Are we saying yes because we want others to like or be impressed with us? Are we saying yes because, even though it’s not fun, it’s important because the end result will move us towards what we want?
The key is knowing yourself, and being true to who you are and what will work best for you, today and in the long run.
This is a topic I’ve been thinking about for quite a while. So much so that, several years ago I wrote an article about it. Hope you enjoy it.
Just Say No – Sandy Abell
Last week my friend, Steve, was talking about how overwhelmed he feels. He said he has too much to do at work, and in his “free” time, he’s busy every minute. When I asked him to elaborate, he explained that during the workday there are several co-workers who complain about all they have to do, and ask him for help. Since he wants to be a good employee and team player, he always steps up and says “yes.” Then he ends up having to do his work and theirs too, and he’s swamped.
Instead of being grateful for his help, his colleagues are then angry with him because he doesn’t have the time to do a perfect job on the projects he’s taken over for them.
Steve explained that outside of work he is on the Board of Directors for three non-profit organizations, plus he coaches his daughter’s soccer team. His wife is angry with him for never having time to spend with her or do things around the house, his golf group has given up on him because he’s always busy with something else when invited to play, and his children complain that they never see him.
Steve is so busy trying to be helpful and supportive to everyone, that he’s forgotten to take care of himself. He has no boundaries around his life, and the result is that it’s completely out of control.
The problem is that Steve hasn’t learned to say “NO!” He is afraid that if he turns people down, they will think he’s selfish and won’t like him.
The reality is that he needs to take care of himself as much, or even more, than he takes care of others. If he doesn’t do this, he will end up alienating the people he cares about, will feel exhausted and miserable, and his overwhelmed body will probably get sick.
Steve has forgotten to treat himself with the same respect he gives others. It’s time for him to decide what is most important, set boundaries around his time, and learn to say “NO”.
A great phrase to use when telling someone “no” is, “I’m sorry, that doesn’t work for me.” Don’t give them reasons or explain why, because they will argue with whatever you say. Just repeat, “I’m sorry, that won’t work for me.”
The other person will be frustrated because they can’t argue and try to change your mind, but you will be standing your ground, making your boundary clear, and taking care of your needs.
It’s time to give it a try. Just say “NO!”
Please comment so others can benefit from your wisdom and experience.
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And, there’s another side to this, too. You’re talking about the really conscientious people who overcommit and then run themselves ragged meeting all the commitments. Some people say “yes” too much, get overwhelmed and then don’t meet all their commitments. They kind of drop out of sight and others have to pick up the project, often when it’s getting late and then the result is not the best. I wish people who find they have overcommitted themselves would just raise their hand and approach others for help. Many times it is available but you need to take a tiny amount of time and thought to find it and ask. It’s a sign of strength, not weakness.
Absolutely Cathie! Thanks for sharing your great points. What you describe is what happens when someone is afraid to say no. So they say yes, and then can’t follow through. It would be much better for everyone to just be clear from the beginning that the answer is NO!
Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long
as I provide credit and sources back to your blog?
My website is in the very same niche as yours and my users would truly benefit from a lot of the information you present
here. Please let me know if this okay with you. Thank you!
It’s a pleasure to hear from you Sharon and I’m pleased you find value in my blog. Yes, please feel free to share it with your readers.