Give yourself permission to focus your time on what aligns with your goals, or risk being pulled off track.
“I really don’t want to do this, but I’ll say yes anyway.”
How familiar does that train of thought feel to you? How often do you find yourself trying to be nice, or keep the peace, or passively agreeing to do something that you know isn’t right for you?
I’m not talking about doing something kind for others or compromising, I’m talking about giving your time and energy to something you know will have diminishing returns.
Many of us work to avoid conflict or aren’t clear enough on our goals to fully understand how precious our time really is.
There are good reasons to start saying “No” more often, here are just a few:
Your mental energy is valuable and limited.
I understand that you’re a rockstar and juggle a thousand balls at once in your daily life, but the reality is that humans only have so much time in a day and so much mental space to tackle all of our tasks.
When we agree to things that don’t serve us or bring us closer to our goals, we are spending these valuable resources in places that we don’t belong.
Since time and energy are finite, every ounce spent in the wrong place is taking away from what’s needed in the right place.
It communicates your standards.
We may want to appear like we can handle anything, or are capable of taking on any challenge. But, blanket acceptance can sometimes lead us in the wrong direction, especially if it is accepting an invitation to spend time with a person or group we know is wrong for us.
Being able to say “thanks, but no thanks” communicates a level of value that shows you’re not immediately available for anyone at any time. I mean, you’ve got shit to do.
It will eliminate stress.
How much of your stress is unnecessary? How much is caused by seemingly menial things you just wish you could eliminate from your life?
What if…you did?
You don’t have to be Superman or Wonder Woman and do it all all the time. Piling on tasks and obligations can lead to overwhelm, burnout, and poor time management.
It will strengthen your relationships.
Sometimes we feel as though saying no to someone we care about will push them away from us, so we just constantly say yes to whatever they ask, even if it’s mentally or emotionally draining for us.
The truth is that people who respect and care for you will understand when you need some space, downtime, or when you’re doing your own thing and are simply unable to help or spend time with them.
They will respect you for being honest — and, if they cut you out of their life for saying no a couple of times, you’ll learn quickly that they were just keeping you around because of what you could do for them.
Either way, it’s a win/win and will solidify the right relationships while shedding the wrong ones.
It’ll allow you to serve others and yourself even better.
The irony is that pushing ourselves too hard for the sake of other people is actually a surefire way to not be able to serve them as well as we would like.
You cannot pour water out of an empty cup, and if you never stop to refill, you’ll constantly be running on “E.”
Saying “no,” even if it’s to something as simple as after dinner drinks, allows you to open up space to reconnect with yourself and remember why you’re on the path you’re on.
There is a point of diminishing returns, particularly when living in a society that teaches us “the busier, the better.”
We have conformed to the idea that being busy is a sign of progress and status, but few people look back at their life and wish they had worked more while spending less time focusing on what was truly important.
Take inventory of your life now and then. What is draining your energy, and what is charging you up? Which tasks, big or small, can be eliminated? How can you rearrange your priorities to make sure you stay on the right track?
I used to say yes to every opportunity that came up, until I realized that simply being active did not mean I was moving in the right direction.
A hamster on a wheel feels like he’s being productive, but he’s not actually going anywhere.
Take a breath, readjust, and give yourself permission to say no sometimes. Approach the right things at full strength instead of all the things at half strength.
Your future self will thank you for it.
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