Years ago, I was struggling to set boundaries with my time. I was saying yes to every little request that people asked me. All of those little yeses added up and it was slowly draining my energy. I found myself, yet again, having to make a decision to say yes or no to another request that someone had emailed me. Here was my stream of thoughts: If I say no, then I can give them a few suggestions of what to do. Wait that is more work than saying yes.I will just gone ahead and do it. But don’t I have time to do what they are asking. Maybe I could rearrange the schedule to fit it in. I told my friend about this internal battle I was waging and she quietly responded, “No is a complete sentence.” That mantra has stayed with me every single time I find myself in a frenzy of trying to be everything to everybody.
We are often asked to do things that are optional. These optional tasks and requests start to add up. Suddenly we find that every single minute is accounted for in our busy schedule. Our help may bring someone else some temporary happiness,but it definitely doesn’t bring us any joy in the process.
Your time is yours, though. You get to choose. Repeat, you get to choose. You get to do what you want with your schedule. Sometimes this means saying no.
Your no does not require an explanation. If someone is pushing you for an explanation than the request is really a demand (that is another blog post for another day). Sometimes you just simply say no and stand in the power of that decision. Without trying to justify it. Without trying to make that other person feel better. Without trying to come up with alternatives. Without apologizing.
If you have a hard time with this, find you a “no friend”. This friend will hold you accountable when you find yourself in the throes of over-committing. They will lovingly remind you of your power. They will congratulate you when you create more space in your calendar because you didn’t take on the millionth request. I have friends who celebrate when I say no and set boundaries. Positive associations are powerful.
Saying no can be simple. You can say: I appreciate you for thinking of me, but I can’t do that for you right now. Or..I will have some space in my schedule next month, why don’t you check back with me then? Or..No I can’t. After you say no, take a deep breath and release any guilt that tries to creep up.
This is your life. It is your time. It is your energy. Protect it and nurture it well. Say no with power. Take up space in your own calendar unapologetically.
If you want to continue to take up space for YOU, get the Reimagining Your Dreams Challenge Workbook. It is 7 days of saying yes to you and your dreams. Learn more here.