NO. This word is now a regular in my vocabulary. And you know what? I am better for it. You can’t say yes to everything. I mean, you CAN, but you will be stressed the hell out. I learned this the hard way. I began my first Life Coaching course in the Fall of 2017. In addition to my full time day job, attending the class, Coaching practice, and the hours of homework every week, I thought it was a good idea to say yes to almost every invite that came our way. Our social calendar was booked up every single weekend. Oops. For some reason, I was having a hard time saying no to anyone or anything. Ultimately, it led me to being tired, stressed, overworked, and pretty bitchy because I just couldn’t get it all done. To ease some of the stress and tone down the bitchy (for Bobby’s sake), I tried to fit in more meditation and “me” time. This usually works, but this time it wasn’t enough. It was rough. Thank goodness for a patient husband and good rosé.
We’ve all been there, right? If you haven’t, please give me a call because I will pay you good money for your secret. No matter the reason, it’s usually easier to say yes in the moment. Perhaps you don’t want to let someone down or hurt their feelings. Maybe you’re the kind of person that just always wants to help. Maybe you don’t want to be left out or rejected. Perhaps you’re a people pleaser. Or maybe you have a severe case of F.O.M.O. (Fear Of Missing Out). I get it. There’s always a reason to say yes.
But think about this . . . every time you say no to something that isn’t important to you, you free up time for an opportunity to say yes to something that is important. Read that again. Seriously, go back and re-read that first sentence. Let it soak into your bones. When you say yes, what could you be missing out on?? That’s quite the question. Unfortunately, you can’t answer it until you get some experience with saying no. After you say no the first couple of times, you slowly gain the confidence to say no more often. Your schedule will start to open up. You spend more time doing what you want to do and less time doing what you have to do. Before you know it, you’re able to hand out a no like Costco employees hand out free samples on the weekends. High Five.
Saying no to something is saying yes to yourself. I feel like we don’t do this enough. I started thinking of everything I’ve gained from my new found freedom of saying no and I feel like it’s pretty legit. I’d like to share. Maybe it will encourage you to become more comfortable with the word no. Here are my top 4 benefits to choosing no over yes:
1.Honoring myself- For me, this means being honest with myself about what’s best for me and then respecting whatever that is. I don’t say yes unless it’s something I want to do and something that will make me or my life better. If I don’t honor myself, no one else will. Period.
2. Valuing my time- The more I said no, the more time I had to do things I wanted. Once I got a taste of that, there was no turning back, baby! It took a lot of that to learn that my time is the most valuable thing I possess. I now choose to spend it wisely—with people I love and doing things that matter.
3. Gaining more control over my life- Once I was more comfortable saying no, I felt more in control. First, I realized that how I respond is always my choice. Next, it became clear that I didn’t owe anyone an explanation. Lastly, I acknowledged that it was OKAY if there was something I didn’t want to do. At the end of the day, I am doing what’s in my best interest. That is what is most important.
4. Freedom from guilt (mostly)- No matter the reason for saying yes, it usually ties back to that dreaded feeling of guilt. Y’all know what I’m talking about. Now, I didn’t achieve this right at first and there are still times that it sneaks up on me. But when I made a habit of saying no when it didn’t serve me, that feeling of guilt began to morph into a feeling of confidence.
You will have your own motivations to start saying no that will lead to your unique benefits. But to get there, you have to practice. Especially if you are a yes person. So, let’s start right now. Say it with me . . . no. Try it again. What the hell, say it a third time for good measure. But for reals, the more you do it, the easier it will get. The next time you’re uncertain that saying yes is really what you want to do, just say no (Yes, I realize this was the slogan for the campaign against drugs in the 80’s and 90’s, but it works really well here). Remember that it’s your choice. It’s always your choice. Make the right one for you.