Allow me to start this post by saying that I am a huge believer in the power of ‘yes’. Saying ‘yes’ and stepping outside my comfort zone has resulted in some brilliant self-revelations that would have otherwise remained dormant within me. When I’m presented with an opportunity that sparks my curiosity or butterflies in my stomach, more often than not I will jump in with both feet, eager to take it all in. I find there’s a certain magic in letting my curiosity and creativity guide me and I’m totally about that life.
However, over the last year I have also embraced saying ‘no’ - and I must admit, there’s a certain magic in that too. Embracing ‘no’ doesn’t come easily when you’ve got a case of FOMO though. As an entrepreneur, socialite and people pleaser, I want to do everything and be everywhere all the time, and I was able to make that work for some time. But the truth is, it wasn’t really working. It was taxing; I was tired, I was straddling the lines of being busy and burning out, I got sick and I wasn’t giving my business the time and attention it needed to continue to grow. I was in serious need of some boundaries.
I’ve always considered my time to be valuable but now, as a business owner, time is literally money. I’ve heard that saying many times but truly understanding it for the first time really put things into perspective. So after fighting it for so long, I began to set boundaries. And saying no to others actually meant saying yes to me… it’s funny how that works. I work on a pretty solid system that guarantees a win/win situation every time. Whenever I’m stuck between the power of ‘yes’ and embracing ‘no’, I go through my mental checklist:
Do I want to do this?
Do I actually want to do this or are my FOMO goggles on?
Will I benefit anything from doing this?
Have I accomplished what I set out to do today?
Do I have the energy to do this without feeling like I’m running on empty?
If the answer to 3 or more of these questions is ‘no’, then it’s a no - it’s as simple as that. If I want to do it, if I really want to do it, and feel like I can do so comfortably - I win. If I choose not to do it, I can focus on being productive or enjoying some much needed down time (I don’t make time for this nearly enough!), either way - I win.
Just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s always easy though. As I’m sure you’ve experienced, not going out doesn’t mean that you’ll be productive or well rested. Both require discipline, so it’s only a real win if you keep yourself accountable.
Furthermore, saying no to friends, family, colleagues or clients can seem impossible - especially for fellow people pleasers. It may be a tough pill for them to swallow but when handled with care it’s usually well received.
Handling ‘no’ with care is not:
Snapping your fingers and giving sass
Not replying to an email/text
Bailing last minute
Handling ‘no’ with care is:
Empathising with the person on the receiving end of your ‘no’
Being honest about why you’re saying no
Offering an alternative solution that is mutually beneficial
Having a balanced relationship with ‘yes’ and ‘no’ is a work in progress but knowing how to act on each puts me in the position to make the most of every opportunity, whether it’s sporadic and new or deliberate and planned. I’ve experienced a surge of strength from embracing ‘no’. It allows me to identify my limits, maintain boundaries and make positive choices. If you haven’t embraced ‘no’ yet, I think it’s worth a shot. I’d love to hear about your experience with it.