Remember that thing you signed up to do? You knew it was too much, you knew you couldn't really take it on, but you did. You said YES because you didn't want to hurt someone's feelings?
I've done it a hundred and one times. Times 2.
What I have to say here is really important: It takes integrity to say NO.
Saying Yes when we really can't take things on does several things:
- It creates space for building resentments.
- It makes us move things that are important to us down the list.
- It steals our sense of peace and serenity.
- It causes stress and panic because we don't want to let others down.
- It puts us in the position of doing more than we really should or can.
- It creates room for mistakes.
When you say No you do several things:
- You acknowledge that your time, serenity, and other priorities are important to you.
- You show that you have boundaries.
- You signal that you will not be the "go-to" for the things that have fallen off other people's plates or radars.
Saying NO takes giving up the notion that people will like us more or that we'll get something in return.
When we say yes when we want to say no, we have to wonder why.
- What are we trying to gain?
- Are we trying not to look bad?
- Are we trying to prove we're a good friend?
We have to take a deep look at our own motivations to check our own assumptions and needs.
Saying No makes you the focal point of your life. Which is where you should be. You have responsibilities and jobs. Maybe you have kids, a spouse, a job, parents that you're taking care of, whatever. Maybe you're in between jobs and have lots of free time. It's doesn't actually matter. When you say YES and your heart isn't completely in what you've been asked to do, consider whether it would be more appropriate to say No. If you feel like you've been taken advantage of and you will likely build resentments, it would probably be better to say No.
It takes integrity to say No.