Have you ever said “yes” and found yourself on a conference call, in a meeting or at a dinner party, thinking: “What the heck am I doing here?”
It happens to all of us. You agree to something and then you regret the time and energy you spent on it because of one word— yes.
Here’s the deal. You can’t get that time and energy back, so it’s time to start getting intentional about what you say yes and no to in your life. Otherwise, the same scenario will repeat itself endlessly and you’ll end up burned out, irritated and resentful.
So here’s my challenge to you as we head into the holiday season: Stop saying yes when you really want to say no.
Your time and energy are valuable. Saying yes- when you really wish you could just say no- guarantees you are giving your time and energy away. The good news? It can be easily avoided by replacing that three-letter word with this two-letter one: no.
Here’s why that’s important. When we say yes without any intention, we are also by default saying “no” to the people and priorities in our life that matter more. That’s how I often re-frame the narrative when I’m tempted to just say yes because it feels easier in the moment.
But I get it, it’s hard to say no. Here are a few helpful hints:
- Know how much time you actually have available. My friend Tiffany Dufu wrote a book called “Drop The Ball.” I had her as a guest on my podcast, and she shared a time management exercise she often has people do.
- Write down everything you expect to complete in an ideal day (every single thing!).
- Write down how long you expect it will take you to complete each item.
- Sum it up at the bottom. What she finds- and you probably will too- is that we vastly overcommit. We say yes to things, that we can’t possibly fit into our schedules!
- Re-frame the narrative. Ask yourself this question: When I say “yes” to this, am I saying “no” to something that matters more?
- Be gentle yet firm. Get comfortable saying no. If you know you don’t want to do something, don’t say you will think about it. Don’t provide a lengthy explanation to rationalize your decision. Just keep it short and sweet!
Your Game Changer Takeaway
Remember, the word “yes” is valuable. It’s your time, your energy and your attention you are giving away. Start treating it that way!
The Molly Fletcher Company inspires leaders, teams and organizations to kick-start growth. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working as a sports agent. Her company offers training and coaching programs to help leaders unleash their potential, including: Game Changer Negotiation Training, which teaches business people a framework for successful negotiating; The Energized Leader training, which teaches people how to manage their energy to achieve focus and freedom; and a monthly coaching program, Game Changer Leadership Huddles, to help members recharge their purpose and mindset. Sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter and subscribe to the Game Changers with Molly Fletcher podcast on iTunes.