Have you ever said “yes” to do something and immediately regretted it?
Your schedule is overbooked and you are not sure if you can complete it. The only reason that you said “yes” is because you were scared to hurt their feelings or that you might let them down. Or maybe it was because you thought someone else might mess up the task and you wanted to make sure that it got done right.
I am one of those people.
I agree to do something and I immediately resent it. I will stay awake at night dwelling on the task analyzing each tedious step. I will allow the task to put me in a bad mood until it is completed meanwhile dwelling on the burden that it is putting on my time.
So many parents struggle to be on every committee at church, coach every one of their kids’ ball teams, be the head of the PTA and then complain that they just don’t have any time for themselves. There are also those who can’t say “no” in their professional lives. They agree to be on every committee or focus group that comes up and then complain that they are so overwhelmed with work that they don’t think they can get it all done.
Learning to say “no” is a skill that every overachiever should learn. It is like any other learned skill in that the more that you do it, the easier it becomes and the more comfortable you are in doing it.
Here are a few thoughts I keep in mind every time I struggle to say “no”:
There is no shame in saying it. People will respect you for being honest and move on. If they continue to pressure you into saying “yes”, then politely explain to them that you feel like you wouldn’t be able to spend the proper amount of time that this project would require. This will make you a more dependable person because you can allocate more time to the tasks that you are already doing.
Your health depends on it. As we age, it is important to de-stress our lives and direct more of our attention to things that we truly enjoy doing. The time in our lives that we worked 12 hour days has passed and is no longer required. It is alright to do this in your 20’s and 30’s but once you reach 50, it is time to eliminate the clutter in our lives and evaluate what is most important.
You should have a good reason every time you say “yes”. Assess whether the task is doable. Will the task add value to my life? If I do it, what task will I not be getting done? Set boundaries in your mind for what you can accomplish without feeling resentful and stick to them. Do what is important to you, your family, or your job and so “no” to the rest.
Your decision affects others. Anything that you agree to do has the potential to take time away from your family or what you enjoy doing. Every action has a direct effect
It builds confidence. If nothing else, saying “no” will build your self-confidence. It will make you feel empowered and in control of your life. You will have a new outlook on things and
“Real freedom is saying “NO” without giving a reason.” – Amit Kalantri, Wealth of Words.
The learned skill of saying “no” should be used wisely. The power of “no” can alienate you from your peers but can also set you free to do the things that are important to you. Be firm but not rude and without guilt. Remember that you don’t have to have a reason to say “no”. Saying “no” shall set you free!