I love my life. I love the unexpected twists and turns, the business ventures that take me all over the country, the never knowing what’s around the corner. I know it’s not for everyone, and there are times when I yearn for a bit of stability – but those times are fleeting.
I know myself well enough to understand that this brain of mine would turn to mush if I were to settle down. My mind is quite childlike really, it’s too inquisitive to be satisfied with what most people would consider a ‘normal’ life.
Yet, despite my contentment in the chaos, there are times when I metaphorically bite of more than I can chew. This is one of those times.
The fact is, I want to do as well as I possibly can with each and every role I take on in life, but if I stretch myself too thinly I’m in danger of messing up all over the place. So what do I do? I learned long ago that unless I want my relationships, my health and my work to decline I have to say no.
Learning To Say No
It’s a tiny word, just two letters and one syllable but it’s a word that a lot of us have a really hard time saying. I know from experience that the lack of ability to utter the word no can make life extremely hard, especially when there are those that would take advantage of our good natures.
The fact is, we have to say no to some things in our lives. I know it’s difficult, especially if what we’ve been asked to do is for a worthy cause.
So let’s look at the alternatives:
- We say yes to everything, even the things we don’t want to do
- We bust a gut trying to do everything on our list
- We do the best we can, but we inevitably don’t do a great job
- We lose sleep
- We lose focus
- We get stressed
- We become ill
We are only human and each of us has our own limits; we can either do a few things really well or do a whole heap of things badly.
Ideally, we would choose the most important thing on our lists, say no to everything else and put all our energies into doing that one thing perfectly.
Yet that’s not reality. We can only pare things down so far, life is simply too complex to hand over our entire focus to one thing.
So try to figure out what the most important things in your life are and say no to anything related to the rest. It’s a hard and bitter pill to swallow but it will serve you and the people in your life far better moving forward.
Let go of the idea that we can do everything and be everything to everybody. Learning to say no now means saying yes to a future of more focus and sanity.