In my last post, “Are you leading your life or is your life leading you?”, I share with you the five strategies that will help you begin to lead in your life, instead of your life leading you. There are several of those strategies that are really difficult for me too, but the one that is the most difficult is #5…learning to say NO!
5. Choose carefully – I never learned how to say “NO, ” and that became a huge problem for me. I finally learned that when you say “yes” to something, you are automatically saying “NO ” to something else in your life. Remember that, consciously or unconsciously, you are already making these choices, and therefore you want to weigh those significant decisions carefully, as they might have a lasting impact on your life.
I want to share with you some things that are working for me, as this has been such a difficult one for me to learn and put into practice. When I do say “NO”, I feel guilty, and that I must give them a complete explanation of why I had to say NO. This used to make me feel better, and then I was justifying why I did not say yes. Then I would continue the “replay” in my head of “maybe I should have said yes and what would have been happened, etc. “. Does anyone else very do that?
The one thing that has helped me the most is that “NO is a complete sentence”. Choosing what you say yes to and what you say NO to is critical to getting and maintaining the balance in your life. It does get easier when you learn that you can say NO without all the drama that used to accompany the decisions. No explanation, no feeling guilty and guess what, IT WORKS!!
- NO is a complete sentence. Nothing else is required,no apology, no story or no explanation. However, I don’t do that anymore. I will say, “You know that just doesn’t work for me at this time. Thank you for the opportunity, but I can’t do it right now”.
I am very active in many organizations and this year, I was asked to be a vice president of one organization and I was nominated for the president –elect of the other big organization that I belong. WOW, I felt SOOOOOOOOOOO honored, and very special. However, I know myself and I give 150% to anything that I do. I also am at a “turning point” in my business and my personal life, and I have very specific goals for this year and next year. After much “soul searching”, I knew that the answer was NO to both opportunities.
What a hard decision for me, but it was the right one. When I told both organizations, of course, they were disappointed, but interestingly enough, they all applauded me for making the decisions that are best for me. One woman told me that I had set a great example for other women and volunteers. I will still continue to work in the organizations, as I am a board member of one and on a very active committee in the other.
I am working on choosing carefully and learning to say NO without any guilt. I would love for you to share some of your stories or experiences where you are choosing and saying NO. Good Luck!