Are you a yes (wo)man? If so, I’m guessing you’re dependable, responsible, selfless and generous. Something tells me you’re also just a tad overwhelmed, spending too much time doing things you’d really rather not be doing and possibly on the verge of a breakdown. Any of this sound familiar?
If so, it’s time for a change. Saying NO is the new black.
One of my all-time favorite books is Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. Now, because of this book, when I say “No, thank you” I don’t have to feel guilty (‘cause Greg says so). *wink*
In all seriousness, the concept has totally changed things for me. In fact, the more I practice saying “Thank you so much for thinking of me, but I’m already pretty committed this month!” the more confidence I have in what I AM doing. The more energy I have. The less drained, run down and wrecked I feel.
There is so much freedom in not doing it all.
Let’s be real. We can’t do it all. I mean, I guess we can, but why would we want to when we don’t have to. Why would we want to when saying yes to everything wears on our relationships? Why would we want to when it takes away time from the things that really, truly matter to us?
Stop and think for a minute about why you say YES to the things you say yes to.
For me (and according to Essentialism I’m not alone in this), it’s almost always because of FOMO (the fear of missing out).
If someone thinks I’m good enough, special enough or downright the best person for the job, so much so that they’ve reached out to me to fill the role, my ego inflates a bit. I think, “Wow! I’m super important! How could I possibly say ‘NO’? If I don’t agree to do _____________, they’ll think less of me. They’ll forget about me. In their eyes, I won’t be important anymore! YES, YES, of course I’ll do it! I’d love to!!!”
Until 8 minutes later, I realize this week is cray. I realize my commitments are stacked high. I realize I’m starting to stress out.
This is the vicious cycle of being a yes (wo)man.
In Essentialism, Greg McKeown challenges us to think about things a little bit differently. Try this on for size…
“Don’t ask, ‘How will I feel if I miss out on this opportunity?’ but rather, ‘If I did not have this opportunity, how much would I be willing to sacrifice in order to obtain it?’”
Yes, we might miss out on some things. But guess what? Saying no to one thing opens up the time and energy to say YES to something else. Something that is truly needed of us. Our passions. Our families. Our callings. Isn’t that liberating!?
Now, I’m not saying we should be selfish and only do things for ourselves and not help when we’re needed. What I am saying is that being busy just to be busy, just to be seen as the dependable, responsible, selfless and generous Wonder Yes Wo(man) is not a good reason to fill up your schedule.
Instead, be intentional with your time and energy. Save it for what truly needs you. We’re more dispensable than we’d like to think.
Someone else can and will fill the role when we say “No, thank you.”
What can you say no to this week or this month? Imagine what that could do for your life and well-being? Give it a whirl and let me know how it goes.