“Would you like to speak at our conference?” asks the voice on the phone. I’m easily flattered and usually eager to put myself forward as doing things like this makes me look successful and important. But the caller is interested in what I used to do, not what I want to do. However, for a long time I kept answering ‘yes’ to requests that stroke my ego even when it was not ideal use of my time in the light of my goals.
When you are facing a request from other people it’s often easier to agree and go along with the proposal than to say ‘no’. As a result you end up agreeing to bake a cake to the school bazaar, you promise to help your friend move house and you fill your calendar with social events with old friends you don’t even like that much any more.
When we spend our time doing things other people want us to do we often neglect our own goals. Time passes and we feel puzzled as to why we haven’t moved even an inch with our own project.
But saying ‘no’ to our friends and family, even to our clients, is hard.
Especially we women tend to think we are the facilitators of all the relationships that go around. We also think if we say ‘no’ we will miss out on opportunities or hurt people we care about.
In fact, there are surprising number of reasons why you may end up saying ‘yes’ when you really want to say ‘no’:
– Perhaps you feel flattered some needs your help or invites you to a party.
– Maybe it makes you feel useful.
– Perhaps you seek others’ approval to your personal choices.
– You may feel it makes you look important and busy.
– Perhaps you are looking for the magic pill that has all the answers for you.
– Sometimes it’s simply the easiest way to end a conversation.
– Or you think person talking at you is somehow superior or has more authority than you, and thus you put up with him wasting your time.
Saying ‘yes’ ends up being the biggest time robber in our lives. It’s like sugar or alcohol, it gives you instant fix, but makes you feel bad after a while if you’ve had too much of it. But what it does in reality is steal your opportunity to do what matters to you and push your own project forward to create something bigger!
I’m going to go on a ‘yes’ detox. You can call me the ‘no’ woman this week!
So don’t be offended if I don’t agree to your proposals, if I don’t come to your party or help you choose wallpaper to your new home. It’s not because of you, it’s because of me – I have to protect my dreams.