The Power of Saying No
This post was supposed to be about running. In preparation...I've been running. I've been knee deep in a couch to 5K app doing something I hate -- running -- because somehow pushing through makes me mentally tough. I hadn't quite thought the whole post through yet, but that was the premise. When we find the grit to get through the things we hate, it makes us better.
Then, on a quick weekend getaway, I took a yoga class and realized that you can challenge yourself physically and still enjoy it. Maybe it's just me, but I pretty much settled into the fact that exercise would forever bring dread and I just have to suck it up. I've never really experienced something like this weekend, where I grew frustrated and fatigued, but also relished in the challenge.
Just like that a post about grit became a post about authenticity. For the life of me I still can't figure out why I didn't just say no, why I was forcing myself to do something I truly hated. The idea of running a 5K seemed cool, but I was pursuing a goal I had no skin in.
A light bulb has finally gone off. I am learning how to say no to others and to myself.
I'm no longer going to normalize being unhappy or doing things I dislike. Enjoying life shouldn't only be a method of self-care. It should be the new normal.
I've realized that in setting boundaries for myself, in business and my personal life, every single thing that I now say yes to becomes more valuable. I deserve a life I enjoy and the people I aim to impress and make happy are almost always going to choose themselves first. Who is going to choose me?
Even in writing this I feel the anxiety creeping up on me. However, I'm putting the power of no into practice in my own life, using these major reminders:
You Always Have a Choice
A lot of the corners I feel backed into are not corners at all. The truth is, we always have a choice. Start saying no to the things that cause you to feel unsettled. Learn how to do the musts in a way that make them more bearable. Most importantly, leave behind the notion that your no's have to come with disclaimers or explanations.
Don't back yourself into a yes because you feel out of options. Don't use yes as your default answer. Say no and think out of the box. You always have a choice.
Time is Money
Every minute you give away is like swiping your debit card; spend your time wisely. You wouldn't throw money at everyone who asks for it or spend it on things that you don't really want. The same thing applies to your time. It's your most valuable resource.
I have to remind myself that everything I partake should be worthwhile.
Your "yes" should always guarantee a return on investment that is two-fold.
That means choosing to spend time on things that make us better. Period. Time is money.
I spent the better part of the last few years building up to a career in PR that I knew I didn't want. Why? Sounded good. When we do things anyway, despite our better judgement, we are suppressing the parts of ourselves that go against that very thing. It conditions us to believe that there are parts of ourselves that deserve to be smothered, that certain parts aren't worth it.
There is no part of you that isn't meant to flourish. Sure, there are always bad habits to be broken or ways you could stand to grow, but none of that relates to who you are in authenticity.
Learn to accept the things that make you happy. Learn to accept the things that never will. Be content with both.
Your true self, the person God designed, is perfect in His image. It's up to you to honor that. Authenticity always.
Despite the jitters and self-inflicted pressures placed on myself to bend and conform to the yes' of others, there's also freedom in allowing myself to choose otherwise. It's that freedom I'm relishing in as opportunities to choose me arise.