The Balance of Yes & No
It's not hard to find articles on the web that espouse the virtues of "saying yes" to more or learning how to graciously but firmly say "no" & actually avoid all the arm-twisting that follows.
Rather than being all about the "yes" or all about the firm but ever-so-gracious "no" I think it's essential to figure out your balance of yes & no if you want to keep your sanity in business AND life.
For me, it's all comes down to these 2 things.
1) Knowing Your Default Position
Are you generally a Yes person? A "sure I'll do that" because I want you to know, like, work with in the future, trust, love, admire (seriously fill in the blank here)....me, so I'll happily (aka semi-grudgingly) do this thing for you. No problem!"
Yes, I'll do it. Yes, I'll attend. Yes, I'll donate. Yes, I can help.
Until you're overstretched, overbooked, over-budget & can't remember what a moment of solitude sounds like, feels like or smells like?
Is your default position "no thanks" because you're safe, cosy & secure precisely where you are in your comfort zone. And you'd rather not be prodded into doing anything that looks/feels/sounds/ has any remote possibilities of being scary or uncomfortable. Or basically wrecking your homoeostasis.
Thanks but no. I'm busy. I can't afford it. I can't make it.
Until you're a lonely hermit staring at your computer screen contemplating your existential existence & wondering if anyone actually remembers you're alive?
Once you know your default position you can begin to make moves towards striking a balance. All this assuming, of course, that you're feeling out of balance & you're craving a bit more adventure or a bit better boundaries.
2) What's Important To YOU
The second thing you absolutely must decide is what's important to you. This is essential so you can figure out what to say "yes" to & what to say "no" to.
See then you just start saying "yes" to the things that matter & "no" to the things that don't.
I'm a default "yes" person who has a hard time setting boundaries that are wide enough & feel good. It's a work in progress but some of my favourite advice that I've stumbled across lately on cultivating amazing boundaries comes from Danielle LaPorte's new book "White Hot Truth". Check out Chapter 8 "Open Gentle Heart - Big F*cking Fence: Boundaries for Spiritual People". Seriously, I could just listen to this on repeat. You can listen to a sneak peek from chapter 8, right here. :)
As someone who naturally loves to push boundaries & has adventures, I'm not usually a "no" person. That said there ARE certain areas in my life where I'm firmly rooted in my comfort zone & despise any coaxing, cajoling or arm-twisting to get me out of it. Ahem, public speaking of any kind definitely qualifies. So I get it, at least a bit.
And sometimes saying no can be a REALLY GOOD THING. Only you can decide if you say it too much. If you feel stuck. If you're craving more.
I love this video from Oprah's Super Soul Sessions. Kris Carr talks about how to live a crazy, sexy life. How to take care of yourself, give yourself permission to say yes & to really live. She's an awesome storyteller - you will be completely drawn in.
Once you've got those things figured out make a list ( I LOVE me a good list) of the things you're going to say "no" to more often and the things you want to say "yes" to more often. This list can grow & change & evolve with you. Once you get good at saying yes or no to these things hit refresh and write a new one. :)
I'll go first...
The No List
No more caving to self-doubt
No to committees, meetings & roles that don't get me fired up or excited to be there.
No more acceptance of guilt-trips.
No more catering to people who play games, sulk into silence or can't say what they mean.
No more "should have"
No more standing still, stagnation or procrastination fuelled by perfection.
No more shame.
No more second-guessing intuition.
No more pretending.
No more sacrificing self-care, sanity or spending time with family for a business I love.
No more dimming my light.
The Yes List
Yes to more sunsets slipping into silence.
Yes to more wild kitchen dance parties with my kids
Yes to listening more closely to the soul whispers & divine nudges.
Yes to more laughing til you cry & your ribs ache.
Yes to more beaches.
Yes to more road trips, plane tickets & adventures of any kind.
Yes to buying your own flowers.
Yes to more books.
Yes to more projects that light you up & clients who become friends.
Yes to more stargazing.
Yes to more steaming chai lattes.
Yes to more long walks in the woods.
Yes to more love.
Yes to more creative flow.
Yes to more silence.
Yes to more conversations that stretch & soothe & connect & support.
Yes to more snuggles.
Yes to more opportunities that feel good.
Yes to more music that moves your body & soul.
Yes to more prayer.
Yes to finishing strong every damn time.
Yes to more joy.
Yes to more growth in all directions.
Yes to more warmth.
Yes to singing at the top of your lungs.
Yes to more flexibility.
Yes to better boundaries.
Yes to more kindness, gentleness & generosity.
Yes to more chanting.
Yes to more wishes & intentions consciously made, moved towards & realised.
Yes to dreaming bigger.