Do You Say “Yes” When You Should Say “No”?
We all want to lend a hand and help out where we can, but sometimes saying yes can cost us our own happiness and peace of mind. I know I hate to disappoint people when they need help, and I may even be too much of a “people pleaser” sometimes. Do you find yourself doing the same thing?
This “can-do” attitude has certainly helped me in my career and in climbing the corporate ladder. I became the Chief Operating Officer at a managed care company before I was 35. There’s no doubt one of the biggest reasons for my success was my willingness to take on big projects and work long hours without complaining. I was the go-to person for tough assignments.
What Is That “Yes” Costing You?
My “success” came at a big price however: I missed spending quality time with my family. When I was home, I was exhausted. I had also gained some extra weight and started to experience health issues. While I earned a decent salary, it wasn’t commensurate with the amount of responsibility I had. It turned out I was too agreeable when it came to salary too. I was working hard, but not very smart. I was miserable.
Leaving that position was one of the best decisions I ever made. That was six years ago. It wasn’t easy but now I could never imagine going back. Today, I actually earn more money and am able to work from home. I work with people and clients that I enjoy, and I don’t have to deal with a commute.
While I am living my life much more intentionally now and am much better at setting boundaries, I still have to stop and get back on track sometimes. Just recently, I realized I had taken on too many responsibilities, too much travel, and too many home improvement projects all at once. I’d been going, going, going, until it hit me: I was saying “no” to the priorities in my life. I had gotten so busy, I was missing out on what’s really important. It was time to slow down, regroup, and reprioritize.
Fortunately, I can now recognize much sooner the signs that I’m doing too much. I’ve learned to use some great tools that you can also use if you’re doing to much:
7 Tools to Help You Stay on Track
1. Realize you can still do the things you want to do, but maybe they don’t have to be done right now. Give yourself some time and set realistic expectations.
2. Develop a clear vision for the life you want to lead. When opportunities come up, it is easier to make decisions.
3. Realize you have a choice. Work to align your choices with your values and the vision you have for your life. You will experience greater joy and harmony in your life, and importantly, less stress.
4. Don’t give excuses – a simple “No, I can’t do that right now” or an, “I’m sorry, I have plans” should suffice. If that doesn’t make sense in your situation, try telling the other person how their request might fit into your schedule, and asking if they still want you to do it given that information. For example, you might be able to tell your boss that you can’t do her project this week due to your other duties, but that you could definitely work on it next week. Sometimes, projects aren’t as urgent as they seem.
5. Simplify, simplify, simplify – what can you remove from your life to make room for the things you really want?
6. Ask yourself these simple questions:
- What are the consequences of saying “No”?
- What are the consequences of saying “Yes”?
- If I say “Yes”, what will I also be saying “No” to?
7. Go Back to Your Anchor Habits: Anchor Habits are those things you do that bring you back to center in your life. These are often the first things that start to slip when you take on too much. What are your Anchor Habits?
What tools do you use to stay on track? Share your thoughts below.