Sunday, 8 June 2014

Learning How to Say "No"

So back in January I wrote a post about my 14 goals for 2014, and the overriding theme (at least in my mind) was choosing to simplify and focus on the things that matter. Now that we are half way through the year, I find myself questioning how successful I have been.

I think I have been making progress in certain areas. But I still very much struggle with the word "No".

Saying "No" does not come naturally to me. My knee-jerk reaction always "Yes. Yes. Yes." And it is often "Yes" without thinking through the ramifications of said agreement. If an opportunity arises, I always want to jump on board. If there is a chance for a new experience, I want to try it. (**What if this chance doesn't come around again?**) If someone needs something, I want to help. If I can do something to make someone happy, I always will. (**What if next time they need something they don't call?**) And as a result I often end up overextended.

Then there are all these events, expectations, work, commitments, and I find myself barely squeezing in the things I really want. And thus, the cycle of guilt begins - I feel guilty for saying "No", so I say "Yes". But inevitably the things I want to focus on get pushed aside, and then I feel guilty for saying "Yes". So here I am overextended, guilt-riddled, and stressed.

Slowly, but surely, I am learning that is impossible to do-all and be-all things. But this is not a reflection of your weakness, as I once thought. Instead it is a reflection of your priorities. And it is okay to prioritize yourself.

So that is what prompted my little blogging hiatus last week. Things had been hectic, and I found myself feeling overwhelmed, and questioning how I would fit everything in. So I opted to take a step back. I lived my priorities - as the lovely Carla Birnberg would say. I chose to slow down. I spent extra time with my family. I rearranged my work schedule so I could head home to Niagara for a couple of days and stay at my Mom's. I met a girlfriend for coffee and girl-time rather than going to the gym. I watched the entire second season of VEEP. I went to the baseball game with my husband rather than writing a blog post. I worked. I prepped for my vacation. I ran. I rested. I restored the balance.

Sometimes we need to step back and say "No", and chose to prioritize ourselves.
In fact I think it may be necessary.
 
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten

28 comments:

  1. Oh how I love this.
    I cant even recall how I was with this before our daughter (seriously. how can I not remember?! the time before her seems so long ago now) but since then it has been a no brainer.
    The best change I ever made was never ever ever saying YES in the moment.
    No matter what.
    I could text yes three minutes later even :-) but that initial rule really helped me before I could (!!) put myself first and realize by taking care of ME I *can* better serve others.

    NO is so so so not a four letter word.
    xoxox

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    1. CARLA -
      What a fabulous strategy. It's something that I constantly struggle with. I'm a people-pleaser. I say yes immediately. Which, often times, ends up in a "can't make it" and more disappointment than if I had just said NO to begin with! Or "can't commit yet."

      I'll be using that strategy from here on out, hahaha

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    2. I am definitely a people-pleaser too, and that is one of the reasons I struggle to say "No". But I started to realize that you can still be there for people, still prioritize your family and friends, but also balance that with knowing that you are doing the best you can, so its okay to step back and prioritize yourself too!

      Its all a work in progress. I think people-pleasing guilt is something I might always struggle with

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  2. I love this. I, too, struggle with learning that no may mean letting someone down temporarily but in the long-run, it also means focusing on the things that are most important and being able to commit 100% of yourself to them. Creating boundaries and only offering what I know I can deliver in the capacity needed has decreased the stress and a lot of anxiety I was carrying around with me.

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  3. I completely relate to this. I do have a hard time saying no for many of the same reasons that you mentions. I feel like I have to say yes to the opportunities that come around because people are always saying how important it is to show up. But then it doesn't feel so great when you resent showing up. I need to be better about this too. Slowly, I am but it is hard. I'm glad that you were able to pull back a bit and agree with Carla's learning that taking care of me allows me to help others more. xo

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  4. I used to be the 'yes' girl. Having three kids forced me to pull back. Now, I fear, that I say 'no' reflexively. Maybe a bit too much?

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  5. I'm such a big fan of saying "yes" and "no" wisely for ourselves. Good job knowing your limits and saying "no" to something so you could give yourself some extra health!

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  6. Im struggling with this myself lately, Thanks for the friendly kick in the butt. I am getting over a monster sinus and ear infection right now because I have been pushing myself so hard to be everything and do everything that everybody asked me or expected me to do. I really need to sit down with my planner and evaluate the non essentials and stop loushing myself beypond the limits.

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  7. Ohhh that time is so necessary! It will get easier!

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  8. Like everyone above, I can totally relate to this! Especially now that it's summer and they're SO much amazing stuff going on, it's hard not to want to be a part of it all. Major kudos to you for taking some time to focus on the most important things! <3

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  9. It's SO HARD! I keep commitments, but am working on saying NO when I know I need to prepare to set aside time to NOT do things that overextend me!

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  10. I love that you did this! We all need to step back now and then and do what is the MOST important. Sounds like you had a wonderful week! I tend to do this with family and have learned how to say no this past year and it has made my home life so much better! Every now and then just practice saying NO! :)

    Great to see you are sponsored by Rumble now - I LOVE their drinks! I found them at Whole Foods and had one as a meal replacement one night and fell in love!

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  11. I'm so glad you're learning this. No is a powerful word. I'm sad that not seeing you more often is a function of you learning to say no but that's ok I'll always have a hug for you at the next trade show or race day.

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    1. Well that is why we should just plan a Fresh date instead? Maybe once I get back from vacation!?

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    2. I want in on this Fresh date!! Love you two!

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  12. As direct and strong willed as I can be...I still have trouble saying no. I do like to make people happy....

    Wendy@TakingtheLongWayHome

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  13. Great post! We all can only do the best we can.

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  14. Absolutely- it took me years to get better at saying no, and I'm still working on it. But I know that I MUST take care of myself first, it just isn't worth it. And you know what? People really don't care if you say no! Glad you are prioritizing your self care!

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  15. Such a great reminder!! and ahhh, I'm from Niagara too!!

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    1. Crazy! Where-abouts? I am from Port Colborne!

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  16. Yes. yes. yes. I am learning to say NO... and it is so hard. I just want to people please and say yes. Yet, ultimately when I say yes to someone/something... someone else or somenthing else suffers terribly. :)

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  17. you know i can relate... i'm a work in progress. always

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  18. you already know I'm working on this...getting much better!

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  19. So so true. I am still working on learning to say no.

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  20. FACT. I'm the exact same way. But something always has to give and it's better to set priorities on what is important... and THAT'S the key.

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  21. I cannot even express how inspiring this post is to me. I just saw the most amazing quote the other day and I have tried to internalize it because I have the SAME problem as you in terms of saying no: " I don't know the secret to success but I know the secret to failure is trying to please everyone."

    Cheers to YOU, lady!

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  22. I have THE WORST time saying no... Ugh, it's horrific!!! I really truly need to work on that, UGH! Lets the hard times begin! LOL!

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  23. I have been REALLY working on this too. It is amazing how much we take on that takes us away from our purpose. It is part of being a "people pleaser" and really, the only people we need to please are ourselves. I found a whole bunch of great quotes around focus for a post I wrote. One was from Steve Jobs "Focus is about saying no."

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