My best friend asked me if I couldn’t learn to say no now – as I am striving to achieve my dreams; then how did I ever think I would be able to when some of my dreams were achieved and I was confronted with thousands of more opportunities.
Saying “no” is one of the hardest things for me to do. When it is something that I should not be doing – that’s easier; but saying “no” to things that really aren’t bad – and possibly actually even good, totally different story.
You know what I mean? Like when there is an opportunity for something that is actually a good thing, and could have the potential of benefiting myself and others, how can I say no?
Unfortunately, at times this has gotten me in way over my head. I seem to have a knack for adding more and more to my schedule until I am completely overwhelmed and desperately need help. Suddenly I’m spinning rapidly with the plates of all my different tasks frantically racing in circles above my head.
No worries, just bring in help, right?
Nope. See, I said saying no was one of the hardest things, but guess what is probably just as hard for me? Yep! Asking for help.
We’ve all heard the saying, if you want something done right – do it yourself; well, I have my own version of that; if I want something done – just do it and don’t bother anyone else. Not only that, what about the adage that a leader sees what needs done and makes it so? C’mon – if I’m striving to be a leader, which I am, then I’m going to jump in with both feet and take action.…… On everything???
Chris Brady has said, “Sooner or later, you’ve got to get after what it is you were put here to do, or you’ll suffer miserably for knowing that you’re not doing it.”
What?! How am I supposed to do that?! There’s only 24 hours in a day and some days I feel like I am somehow squeezing 26 to 28 hours into that day! How can I possibly add the things I need to be doing to achieve what I was put here to do when I am racing around like a dog chasing their tail?
Well, that’s exactly the problem. D.L. Moody states “Our greatest fear should not be that we won’t succeed, but rather that we will succeed in doing something that doesn’t matter.”
Taking out time to review my schedule might seem to be a waste of valuable time. But Brian Tracy writes in Eat That Frog that we actually increase our productivity if we make lists of priorities and tasks and eliminate the ones that are not helping us achieve the goal we are aiming for.
Frank Betteger clarifies it in How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling, in his chapter titled The Only Way I Could Get Myself Organized. He explains how he got it through his head that he must take more time for planning and how he created a ‘self-organization day’.
Yet, again this week, I found myself getting dizzy as I tried to continue spinning plates and contemplate tossing another one up into the air. Thank goodness I was again talking to my best friend (Who doesn’t sugarcoat things with me!) and received some of the sincerest concern. Do I really think that adding more to my life right now is healthy and going to benefit me?
Wow. Ouch. After the initial sting, I reflected upon all that I am currently doing, and weighed out the ‘plate’ that I was considering adding. Even though adding this to what I was already doing could potentially create even more income for me, my friend was right, there just really wasn’t a way to carve more time out of my schedule to justify it. I was so thankful that my best interest was important enough for that to be spoken.
By being intentional on creating a list of what is important to me, what I need to make sure I accomplish, and what are my short term and long-term goals, I can then determine if what I’m being proposed is something that brings me closer or takes me farther from the future I want.
Remembering that a leader’s strongest word is ‘No’, is also important. At first, I thought that was ridiculous, I have to admit. But then upon realizing that as a leader’s influence grows, their availability doesn’t, suddenly it became clear. No matter who we are, we still have only 24 hours in our day. The secret is – what we allow to swallow up our minutes. That is why it is so important not to squander our time. Why it is so vital to say No to anything that isn’t going to propel us into the life we have always wanted.
Chris Brady asks in his book PAiLS, “20 Years From Now, What Will You Wish You Had Done Today?”
Maybe your answer will be, I am thankful I learned to say No to what was steering me from my dreams, and learned to ask for help to stay on track!
Time to go, Amy
Photo Credit: Michael May