When asked about her best moment in 2012 artist Liz Crain says, “Finally being able to refuse commissioned work I don’t want to take on without feeling cheesy, awkward, apologetic or wrong. Doing so with ease and a smile, even a soft joke that leaves the requester still on my team. I learned this comes from my solar plexus not my brain with its dutiful, people-pleasing programming.”
That reminds me of a time when I learned to say “no” – looking back, I see how much it changed my life. I am a people pleaser, too. I never wanted to let someone down. Someone recently cancelled on me after committing to do some volunteer work and it was the 2nd time she cancelled on a project that I really needed her for, and I thought “she is someone who has not learned to say, I want to, but I just can’t. Thank you for thinking of me.” It makes such a difference. Especially when you do commit to something and you can do it and you do your absolutely best ‘knock-their-socks-off work and it shows.
Take a look at this video to see a great explanation of this point. . . “Hell Yeah or No!”
I have been consistently doing that for about ten years now and you know what? I still have friends, I am still asked to work on projects, I still participate in things – and I do it to the best of my capabilities.
This makes me proud. I have three kids. I started out wanting to be “fair” and doing the same things with each of them. Mommy & Me class, soccer team mom, room parent, etc. My mom used to tell me, “You are doing too much. Life isn’t fair. They won’t remember all of the things you do.” But I was trying to do the right thing. I was trying to be that Super Mom. I needed to learn to say “no” to the things I felt obliged to do. I love it when I have the time and energy to devote to the the things that I can say, “Hell Yeah!” to.
Peter Bregman, author of 18 Minutes, calls it “flexing his no thanks muscles.” He actually has a “No Thank You List.” Peter says, “Of course, the reason we’re saying, “no thanks,” is so that we can say, “yes please,” to the right things. The reason I didn’t join the committee is so I can focus on my book. The reason I passed on the dinner is so I can focus on my family. The reason I didn’t take on that project is so I can focus on this other one instead.”
Now it is the holiday season and the countdown to vacation. I can’t wait! I am super excited. Not as much for the shopping and the parties as much as the relaxation! I may say “no thank you” to a few things. I need this time to focus on me and my family. I plan to take walks with my husband and cook for my boys. I plan to write and work on projects.
What are you planning to do? Will you be saying “no thank you” to anything over the next few weeks?