N. O. Those two little letters make up one pretty big word. ‘No’ can be as hard to say as it is to hear. This year, I am challenging myself to say it more. More thoughtfully, that is.
As a hopeless people-pleaser, I am generally willing to do most anything I’m asked. “Yes, I can do that.” “Sure, it’s no problem.” “Of course, I would love to.” The words escape my mouth faster than my mind has the chance to consider the proposal I’ve just received. I think it’s time to pause, breathe, think, then respond. I hope to find freedom in fewer unnecessary obligations, calmness, perhaps peace.
Try it for yourself. Be honest with yourself about your time and capabilities. Don’t take on additional projects at the office if you know it’ll result in an unrealistic workload. Politely turn down a request from a friend if it will leave you stressed and hard-pressed for time, and explain your decision. It’s better to decline than to do something out of perceived obligation. Don’t be afraid to decline social invitations, or to leave early from an engagement. It’s better to bow out graciously rather than balk through the evening because you’re too tired, too stressed or not feeling well. Don’t take on more than you can emotionally handle simply to appease someone else. If it’s something that needs to be done that’s too much to take on personally, find someone to help you.
Stay true to yourself. Know your limits. Set boundaries. Be honest with yourself, and if you don’t want to, say, “No.”
This month, we’re serving up bite-sized advice from experts in different fields to help us all make life a little brighter, more creative and more efficient for 2013. Think of this month as a chance to connect with yourself on a deeper level, get closer to what makes you happy, and take control of the balance in ‘work-life balance’ for yourself this year.