It’s been a minute since I’ve written a personal post and I felt compelled to put pen to paper about the importance of saying No for some reason.
It’s been a big lesson I’ve learned in the last 1.5 years as I’ve recently made an exciting turn in my professional career. And instead of trying to do it all, I made a personal decision to cut back on obligations that while enjoyable and exciting, also made it difficult for me to juggle my schedule.
So in learning that lesson and in growing more comfortable I wanted to share some thoughts on the subject. I’ve gone through some ups and downs, feelings of guilt and FOMO surrounding it but on the flip side I’ve also felt less stressed, am more focused and feel more present in what I am doing while I’m doing it.
Here are five things I’ve learned about the importance of saying No.
+ You’re Not a Selfish Person for Saying No
This one was tough for me, as I often worry so much about what other people (specifically friends and family) think of me. I pride myself on the person who is always there and I reached a point where I felt like I was addicted to stretching myself too thin to do so. My need to say Yes to everything, stemmed from worrying that if I wasn’t there that people would think I was selfish and I could not stomach that feeling. Once I got comfortable telling myself that it is OK to set boundaries, things started to shift and I realized that I was not selfish for not agreeing to everything but actually a better, more present person as a result of it. And yes, some people will make you feel bad or guilty but I promise that’s them projecting their own shit on to you and likely has very little to do with you saying no.
+ The Feeling of FOMO Will Pass
This was another interesting fact I recognized early on. I used to agree to every event – I believe this was the right thing to do early in my career as I wanted to network and was hungry to make contacts. When my 9-to-5 workday got busier more often and I had to start canceling RSVPs, I realized that I probably need to chill. And from there I just started to watch other people’s Stories and see their posts and think about how I wish I was out or attending that event. It sucked! But you know what – once I started to see the benefits and value of not trying to be in two places at once I started to realize that my stress levels went down and I didn’t feel sense of panic that would constantly be living in my chest. I genuinely felt better mentally and physically and that was a feeling that far superseded the feeling of FOMO!
+ Opportunities Will Still Be There
As I said above, I used events as a way to network and make contacts and put myself out there to build my brand. And I think this one ties into my first point too in that I feared early on that if I didn’t go to events and said no that brands and partners wouldn’t want to work with me. I had to reassess how I networked and managed my relationships and quickly realized that there was much more value in 1:1 or 1:many connections vs trying to find the right people at events. Let’s break it down: at events the people you want to talk to are working aka they’re too busy to talk to you anyway so why not write an email asking to grab a cup of coffee if you aren’t able to attend the event? Once I started with this approach I was able to make much better and deeper connections and share more about who I am and the content I’m excited to create. This is probably my favorite learning because I truly realized that I could use my time better and more efficiently without feeling like I was losing out on an opportunity.
+ Your Time and What You Do with It is Your Choice
I don’t have a ton to say about this one. I just think it’s important to drive home. At the end of the day your time is your life and what you do with it is your choice. You do not owe anyone your time where you don’t feel it’s valuable to you or your relationships. It’s a plain + simple fact and one that you need to remind yourself of much more often if you’re struggling to feel comfortable saying no :).
+ Being Present vs. Being Everywhere Feels Nice
Wanted to end of a nice note because really, at the end of it all, when you are picky about how you choose to spend your time you will start to realize how much more you value those choices. And to further that, you really start to appreciate the time you have with others and are more excited about the things you get to do (instead of feeling like everything is a chore). Being present was something that was really tough for me because I stretched myself real thin. I felt like when I was at an event or social obligation I was always one foot in the door and one out because it was always lingering on me that I had somewhere else I still needed to be and then by the time I went to 2-3 events in a night all I could think about was how excited I was to get home and ultimately would worry about doing it all over again the next day. It was a vicious cycle and once I started to practice being present I realized that it felt sooo much better than trying to be everywhere or be everything to everyone.