Happy Wednesday! It’s Change the World Wednesday, and tonight I’m sharing with you a few thoughts about saying, “no.” Many of us change-the-world types have a desire for involvement. We’ve realized that we want to be part of the solution, and that the way to create positive change is through ACTION. And, while action is necessary for change, we sometimes get lost or carried away with our actions, and don’t take care of ourselves.
I am a recovering overcommiter. Spell check tells me that’s not a word, but let’s make it one. I overcommit. I want to do it all! I want to be involved and doing so so so many things, because I care. I know I’m not alone. I have so many rockstar friends in my life who do this, too. It’s not just me. My intentions are good, but I have watched myself (and others) do this repeatedly with the same results … stress. When I overcommit, things that I chose to do with good intentions seem like chores. My attitude towards them shifts from passionate or fun, to …not that.
So, I share this with you, because I’m also learning to say, “no.” In fact, today I said, “no,” to a potentially very cool opportunity. And it was sooooo difficult, but I knew, in my heart of hearts, in my gut, inside, that if I chose to take on this gig, I would be taking on too much. It was not easy to say no. I made pros and cons lists, said a few prayers, and wrote out my schedule on a piece of paper at least twice to see where and how I could fit this in. After trying these things, the decision, while murky because in many ways I wanted to say yes, pointed to saying no.
I did say no. And I can tell you that my head and heart, while a little sad about declining an opportunity, believe that there will be other opportunities in the future. I feel clear and strong that I was able to not overcommit myself in this situation. As a life coach, it’s important to me to live my life aligned with my values and how I support others. I will not be as energetic and loving as a life coach and teacher if I’m overly stressed, and I know this.
So, tonight I’m thinking about saying no. Sometimes, stepping back from one opportunity creates space for others to come into your life. Sometimes, declining one more thing gives you extra room to take care of yourself. For those of us who care a lot about others, it’s vital that we remember ourselves in the equation. We’re more able to care for others when we’re taking care of ourselves. Thankfully, there are so many ways we can choose to get involved and make a difference, that it’s also okay if we step back from a few of them. There are others who will say yes…and really we’re just re-focusing and seeking to be strategic with our energy, passion, and time.
By saying”no,” we’re saying “yes” to something else – another opportunity, ourselves, someone we love, or who-knows-what.
Here’s to plenty of opportunities, and discernment to know when to say “yes” and when to say “no.”