When was the last time you said no? Likely to your kids asking for ice cream before bed or to the latte stand gal asking if you wanted whip cream on your morning coffee (even though you wanted to say yes).
To think of the last time you said no to something of greater importance might be difficult.
I feel like we are living in a society where people are trying to prove their invincibility by making yes a go-to word. Taking on more than we can handle, showing that going above and beyond is always the goal and not allowing the word no to be spoken when it comes to admitting what we are capable of.
Moms, what if we did something crazy?
What if we just said no?!
I used to feel like if I had a spare five minutes in the day that meant I had capacity to take on something else. When asked to do things like take on another project at work or, sign up with a direct marketing sales business (my worst experience), I would often say yes because I would truly think I wasn’t at full capacity with those five extra minutes I felt I had in a day.
Then one day, I sort of snapped.
It was an internal snap. I was overwhelmed and I really only had myself to blame.
I was up too late considering my 4:30am alarm clock, packing lunches for myself and my son while multi tasking trying to learn some choreography for a class at the gym I was supposed to teach that week. I realized then that something truly had to give. I challenged myself that evening to start doing something really uncomfortable.
Just say no.
Easier said than done, right? Sort of. Days later when the invitation to join a book club at work came up, I remembered my challenge. I gave a flat “no, thanks” for an answer. I would have otherwise left work that day with the stress of “great, now I have to read a book” looming over me.
It was uncomfortable but felt so good.
I still say yes too often but here are some questions I now try to ask myself before jumping in feet first with an immediate yes.
- Is this required for my job? Sometimes a flat out no is not going to jive in the workplace. But sometimes, it’s worth challenging it.
- Am I passionate about it? There are things that add to my plate but are my passions. For me, it’s writing and subbing classes at the gym. Even though these things can sometimes feel overwhelming, they are also my outlets.
- What does my partner think? When I have signed up for too much, I can leave my husband to bear more of a burden as well. I now try to remember how my saying yes actually impacts my entire family.
- Is there an easier way? Things like classroom parties or even snacks for a soccer game don’t have to be from a Pinterest board. What if you just simplified it?
- What will happen if I say no? I guarantee you more times than not the impact will be microscopic. We often make it seem bigger than it is (“I have to host the church group this week!” No. No, you don’t).
Thinking through it before jumping in with a yes has significantly helped me to find breathing room in this busy life. Moms, I challenge you to just say no!
We’d love to hear how you too might struggle with the word no like I have. Feel free to comment!