by Suzie Doscher - An excerpt from BALANCE - An Interactive Workbook for Self-Coaching
If you say “no,” what will you be saying “yes” to?
The answer to that question is: to you. You are choosing yourself as the priority - that is the bottom line of learning how to say “no.”
It can happen without you even noticing, that your life no longer feels as though it is your own.Overwhelming work demands, busy family schedules, even modern technology seem to add stress by making you accessible all the time. Everything else becomes a priority, while you and your own personal life, values, beliefs, thoughts, wishes and dreams come in second place, if not third. Your attention ends up being stretched in too many directions with no time left to think about yourself.
The result is stress leading to more stress and, hopefully, not a burnout.
I like to think of the much bigger picture of life when it comes to the understanding, motivation and learning of how to respect yourself in the first instance. By no stretch of the imagination does this mean you will be disrespecting others and/or their wishes or job demands. It means you respect yourself and hold yourself in equal position to others. If you are thoughtful, openhearted and conscientious about how you treat people and your job, then surely you can only really give it your best if you are in good shape.
These are the most common reasons people say “yes” when in fact “no” might serve them better:
Ask the following questions to motivate yourself:
Which facets of my life feel the most neglected due to the consequences of saying “yes” too often?
How about saying 'not now,' if this is not the right time or situation for you to say no? To start practicing this, find the situation where you will feel the least resistance. I started by saying 'I will get back to you and let you know if and when I can.' This way I bought myself some time to consider exactly how important the person and/or request was and what I could lose or gain by saying either 'no' or 'not now.'
Allow yourself time and patience to make this change and remember always to give yourself a pat on the back when you make yourself the priority.
It is important to handle this change with good manners, grace and respect. Learning to say 'no' does not mean you can be rude and disrespectful. Learning how to say 'no' might mean you gain some respect from your friends and/or family and in your work environment, yet telling your boss 'no' might be the wrong choice. On that front, considering the day only has 24 hours, what else could you say 'no' to in order to accommodate your boss’s request? In the end it is all about maintaining a healthy balance for the 24 hours per day.