A friend of mine was asked to head up a major fundraiser, and she said no. She didn’t want to. And I admire her for it.
There are many times I wish I had said no to serving on boards or volunteering at events when I didn’t have time, and I didn’t really want to.
About two years ago, I found my voice to say no, and I quit all of my board positions. Yes, I just quit.
With the help of my business coach, Rivka From, I got honest with myself and discovered I had no desire to be involved with these groups. But I had not wanted to disappoint the friends who had asked me, so I had agreed to serve on the board or volunteer at the event.
And let me tell you, it was scary to quit. I was taught when you commit to something, you stick it out no matter what. “Wrong!” as our president-elect would say. You don’t have to stick it out when you don’t like it or it’s taking time away from your business or your family. That was a story that had been passed down to me. It was not a law.
Sure, some people got mad when I quit, but I did not care. Their reaction had nothing to do with me. They were mad because I was giving my time, which really helped them. But it did not help me. After all, I am creating an organizing empire, raising two children, and I have a major need for sleep.
It’s important to say no, but few of us do it. We we worry too much what others will think. What if they get mad? What if we disappoint them?
I am here to give you permission to say no because: 1. You will be happier. 2. Your yeses will mean more when you authentically accept a position, and, 3., Believe it or not, it will help you get organized.
Here’s how: When you start saying no to people, you have fewer meetings, events and activities to juggle on your calendar. Could you imagine a free day? (Pay attention to when you forget a meeting. That is your subconscious telling you that you don’t want to do it.)
And if you get honest about only participating in activities you are passionate about, you will have more time for things you love. I will tell you right now it’s a very small list. It’s impossible to love 50 things. If you really sit down and get honest, I bet it’s 4 or 5 at the most.
Doing these few things will make you happy. And when you are happy, you have less desire to fill the void by shopping for stuff you don’t need. “You can never get enough of what you really don’t want,” say The Minimalists.
Once you learn to say no to volunteer gigs and other activities, this will lead to you saying no to stuff coming into your home, such as, “My mother is downsizing, and she gave me these 10 vases that I don’t want.”
You didn’t say no because you didn’t want to hurt your mother’s feelings. But we must learn to take stand for ourselves and our homes. Think of the lesson this teaches our children to see us taking a stand. Amazing!
And if your mother has a temper tantrum because you politely declined taking in grandma’s 200-piece china set, then that is about your mother and not about you. Plus, if she does not want it in her house, why do you have it in yours?
In 2017, I invite you to focus on that small list of things that make you happy and start saying no to everything that does not bring you joy. And watch where it leads.