Week 38: What is it about saying "no"?
September 14, 2008
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This Week's Topic: What is it about saying "no"?
What is it about saying no that makes some of us so anxious? I'm convinced too many people overload their schedules simply because they are too concerned with what others think to tell them no. Saying no is simple, really: "No, that really doesn't work with my schedule right now." "No, my time with family is so precious, I really can't afford to add another responsibility right now." Busyness is often based in fear, and fear of what others might think tops the list.
A friend shared recently that she'd been asked to take on a volunteer project that she wishes she'd never been asked to do. She feels bad about not taking it on, so she's trying to figure out how to pile it on top of all of the other stuff on her schedule, including the start of a new school year for her kids, volunteer work at church and new responsibilities at work.
"Well, they really want me to do it and I'd be letting them down if I try to pass it off to someone else," she explained. "It's just once a week. It's for a good cause." It sounded more like she was trying to convince herself rather than me. "What do you think?" she asked.
"I think you should take a deep breath and ask yourself what you think," was my response. "What do you sense in your spirit is the right answer?"
"I don't want to do it and I'm worried about what they will think," she replied.
That was the truth. And hearing herself say the obvious gave her the clarity to make a tough decision. The truth will make you free, but first, you have to admit it. She was more concerned about what others thought than what she thought.
This week, I challenge you to get honest with yourself when you feel anxious about a choice you need to make. Consider a decision, a choice or situation in which you feel anxious about saying "no" even though saying "yes" will result in filling your schedule with an activity that really isn't a priority for you right now. Coach yourself with these questions:
1. What do you really want to say in this situation?
2. What are you worried will happen if you say "no"?
3. If you say "yes," what priorities or goals will get less of your time?
4. What lesson is this situation offering you right now? Will you embrace the lesson?
When you learn to speak the truth, without beating around the bush, you free yourself to focus on your priorities.
My challenge to you:
Be honest. Be intentional about what you choose to add to your schedule and say no to some things that simply don't fit right now.
In what way(s) are you being pressured that's causing anxiety for you right now? What's keeping you from speaking up and telling the truth? What do you really want to say? What script could you create for yourself to say what you need to say?
Need help focusing on your true priorities and reconnecting with what matters most? Check out the book or audio book How Did I Get So Busy?
Publishers Weekly says, "Burton's book is a wakeup call - an effective and inspiring plan for change."
Until next time ...
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Valorie Burton, a life coach and speaker, is the author of Listen to Your Life, Rich Minds, Rich Rewards, What's Really Holding You Back?, Why Not You? and her latest, How Did I Get So Busy? The 28-Day Plan to Free Your Time, Reclaim Your Schedule and Reconnect with What Matters Most. Subscribe to her FREE, inspirational e-newsletter at www.valorieburton.com
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