Let me take you on a journey—a narrative that mirrors the intricate dance between time, choices, and intention.
Picture this: It was a bustling Monday morning, emails flooding in, meetings packed on the calendar, and a to-do list that seemed to replicate itself by the minute. The pressure to accommodate every request, to say “Yes” to every demand, seemed normal. Sound familiar?
Or, this scenario: It was my turn to host the holiday family dinner. It seemed like a great idea when I said yes, but now I’m feeling the stress build as the shopping, planning, cleaning, prepping, and cooking is piling on my to-do list. Can you relate?
In the whirlwind of these tasks and obligations, I found myself caught in a constant battle against time. Saying “Yes” felt instinctive—an automatic response driven by fear of telling my executive and others, no. Yet, buried beneath this avalanche of affirmative responses, I discovered a truth often overlooked—the power of “No.”
Here’s what I learned. It was during a particularly overwhelming week when a coach shared an epiphany with me. She unveiled the transformative magic of saying “No.” Initially, the idea seemed daunting—a refusal felt like putting my career in jeopardy and closing doors on family and friends. However, her wisdom shone a new light on the matter. She said:
That simple statement stirred something within me—a realization that resonated deeply. I began to understand that behind every ‘Yes’ lies an implicit ‘No’ to something else—a subtle trade-off, a choice in disguise.
Armed with this new insight, I started on a journey of intentional decision-making. I learned to scrutinize each request, each task, with a discerning eye. The art of saying “No” was no longer a mark of refusal but a gesture of self-care, an assertion of boundaries.
I can appreciate what you might be thinking. . . how is it possible to tell my executive no. It’s quite simple. Instead of saying no, invite your executive to think through the priorities by rephrasing their request with a question. Such as:
- When do you want this completed by? Why now? (Because they always want it now, right? By asking the question, in a respectful way, you’re helping your executive to think deeper. And together you may discover that what was originally a high priority has shifted to, and it can wait until the end of the year priority.)
- Why is this important to you and the company?
- Where does this project fit in based on our annual goals?
Another way to say no, without saying “no” is to respond with: I’m not able to do that, and here’s what I can do. This approach works great with friends and family too.
When I acted on this advice, I discovered the power of a deliberate “Yes.” Each affirmative response became an act of commitment—aligning with my goals, values, and aspirations. It was liberating, empowering—a way to reclaim control amidst the chaos.
When we stop saying yes to everything and everyone around us and instead say yes to our priorities, goals and desires – we’re less stressed, more successful and happier. That’s what we all want – right? So, give this strategy a try! It may feel awkward in the beginning, and with practice, it will get easier and easier.
- Prioritize with Precision: Start each day with a clear list of tasks. Use techniques like the Eisenhower Matrix —to categorize tasks based on urgency and importance. Focus on high-priority tasks first. Regularly reassess and readjust priorities as needed. Do you really need to clean the house first or do you need to get the turkey in the oven? Do you need to have a zero-email inbox or respond to the high-priority/urgent email?
- Establish Boundaries: Learn to gracefully decline tasks that don’t align with your or your executives’ goals. Use assertive and professional language. Set aside specific time blocks for focused work without interruptions. Communicate your availability and boundaries to colleagues and clients.
- Practice an Intentional Yes: Before committing, pause and reflect on how the task aligns with your long-term goals and values. Learn to say “Yes” to opportunities that contribute to your growth or align with your and your executives’ priorities. Articulate your reasons for accepting or declining.
Your journey begins here! Unlock your best self with our transformational guide. 80 pages of carefully crafted worksheets are divided into four powerful journeys that will empower you to take control of your life.
- Develop a success mindset
- Discover your values
- Set goals and define priorities
- Plan for Success
Each journey is your stepping stone towards a life of purpose and fulfillment.
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