So how are you doing so far? Have you found a way to say no and make it stick?
I believe it’s especially hard for women that have been raised to be “nice” to learn the art of saying no. When I’ve broached this subject with clients they often say, “I don’t feel comfortable saying no to a friend. Isn’t it the height of selfishness to say no?”
My answer to them is this: “Before you say no, find your yes.” Every opportunity is a choice; saying no to one thing allows you to say yes to something else − something that you’d prefer to do or something more important to you in the long run.
But first you have to know what your priorities are. If you’ve done a Statement of Being, you are halfway there. If not, then here’s an exercise to help you set those priorities in place.
Close your eyes and imagine that you had a magic wand allowing you to add an extra 5 hours to every day.
How would you fill those five hours?
You might choose to spend some of that extra time playing with your kids or talking with the people closest to you. Maybe you would take an art class or find time to do tai chi or yoga. Maybe you would take a walk every morning in the park or sit down with your favorite cup of tea and a good book in the evenings.
Or maybe you would spend this extra time asleep! We are a sleep-deprived society and I believe a majority of these tired-to-the-core individuals are women, especially those that can’t say no.
However you’ve chosen to spend these imaginary five hours, they are your “yesses” – your priorities –the things you are missing out on right now.
Whatever is on your list – this is your soul food.
As we simplify our lives, these are the activities that we want to add to our day– and until those imaginary five extra hours are actually granted – we will have to make hard choices – often.
So write them down. Keep your priority list in the forefront of your mind. Validate that you are in choice every moment of every day.
Finding your yes before you say no gives you a road map to follow. A road map to finding time for those people and things that are truly important to you.
So give yourself permission to say no with clarity and grace. You don’t have to explain, you just have to open your mouth and utter the one word, “No”. That’s all.
You can do it gently and with a smile, knowing that you are actually saying yes to simplicity and living life the way you want to live it.