“‘No‘” is a complete sentence.”
– Anne Lamott
I have written in the past about the value of saying “yes” to new ideas, experiences and perspectives. As with anything, however, there is always the other side of the coin: the value of saying “no.”
Many of my coaching clients, find themselves overworked, overwhelmed and completely exhausted. All too often, this is because they don’t say “no.” They need to be able to say, “no, my plate is already full” or “no, I can’t do that now, but I could do it with additional staff/funding/time [etc.].”
Often, it is women leaders in mission-driven organizations who find it most difficult to set boundaries at work by saying “no.” Even when it is at their own expense – working instead of taking care of their own needs for sleep, relaxation, family, fun – they find it challenging to say “no” to whatever issue/problem comes across their desk.
However, maintaining a lifestyle of overwork, overwhelm and exhaustion is the shortest path to burnout. When you are harried and fatigued, your productivity, creativity and efficiency go down the drain. And, as the saying goes, no one on their death bed says, “I wish I had spent more time working.”
So, when you look back on your life, will you regret spending fewer frenzied hours at the office or rejoice in all the moments you gave your undivided attention and presence to a child/friend/partner?
What can you say “no” to?