Things which matter most should never be at the mercy of things which matter least. Goethe
It’s October. That time of year when many of us feel like we’re running from one thing to the next and there’s barely time to catch our breath.
As much as I’ve worked on dialing it back and doing less, at times, I still find myself struggling with saying, “No.” (Read my revelation around how my “over-doing” was creating stress.)
Are you scratching your head wondering how you ended up agreeing to take on more at work, your child’s school, for your neighborhood association or for the nonprofit board you’re no longer truly engaged in?
We have a finite amount of energy. And our energy is precious. We GET to choose how to use it.
How can you more effectively build, leverage and harness your energy so you can focus on what matters most? Get really good at saying, “No.”
Learning to say “no,” is like exercising—the more you practice it, the stronger and more adept you become. Here’s some helpful language from our Personal Renewal Groups (based on the curriculum in The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal) to support you in mastering this essential skill:
Nine Creative Ways to Say No
1.Just No: “Thanks, I’ll have to pass on that.” (Say it, then shut up.)
2.The Gracious No: “I really appreciate you asking me, but my time is already committed.”
3.The “I’m Sorry” No: “I wish I could, but it’s just not going to work right now.”
4.The “It’s Someone Else’s Decision” No: “I promised my coach (therapist, etc.) I wouldn’t take on any more projects right now. I’m working on creating greater work/life alignment.”
5.The “My Family is the Reason” No: “Thanks so much for the invite, but that’s the day of my son’s soccer game, and I never miss those.” (Consider hiring a coach to help you get clarity here.)
6.The “I Know Someone Else” No: “I just don’t have time right now. Let me recommend someone who may be able to help you.”
7.The “I’m Already Booked” No: “I appreciate you thinking of me, but I’m afraid I’m already booked that day.”
8.The “Setting Boundaries” No: “Let me tell you what I can do …” Then limit the commitment to what will be comfortable for you.
9.The “Not No, But Not Yes” No: “Let me think about it, and I’ll get back to you.”
The Nine Ways to Say No list is from Chapter Four on Managing Your Energy, Setting Priorities and Saying No from The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life.
As you look at the months ahead and consider a new work, family or volunteer commitment, remember that while important, it will take away time and valuable energy. Usually more than we realize. Before you leap (and for some, leaping IS what you should be doing!), pause, reflect on what is most important to you this fall and remember, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” When we say no to those things that are “should’s” –we get to say yes to ourselves, our relationships and our heart’s desire.
WANT TO LEARN HOW TO MANAGER YOUR ENERGY/SAY NO? Consider becoming a RTA-Certified Facilitator or joining a group in your area (there are now Facilitators in more than 10 countries worldwide). Learn more. P.S. Thinking of joining me Oct. 23-25 at the beautiful Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health for New Way of Being: Women’s Self-Renewal Retreat? Only two rooms left but commuter options available (or inquire about nearby lodging). Colorful leaves+mountains=fall bliss! Book your room at www.Kripalu.org.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance teacher/author and Career Strategists president, Renée Peterson Trudeau. Offering speaking, custom workshops, training, books/telecourses and individual coaching focusing on self-renewal, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Spirituality & Health and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining self-care groups based on her award-winning curriculum. She is the author of The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal and Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 13 year-old son. More on her background here.