“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” -Bill Cosby
The Power of NO
Here is another one of these small exercises that improved my life a lot: When I stopped wanting to please others and started being myself, a lot of it came with the word “No”. Every time you say “No” when you mean “No”, you are actually saying “Yes” to yourself!
Before learning to say “No”, I often went out with my friends although I didn’t want to or went to events I didn’t enjoy. The result was I was there physically but mentally I was in another place and honestly I was not the best company. When I decided that a “Yes” is a “Yes” and a “No” is a “No”, I felt much better. I went out less with my friends and telling them “NO” was hard at the beginning, but the result was that when I was with my friends I was fully there.
In my work life, the impact was even bigger. When I started working in Spain I wanted to be a good colleague and said yes to every favor I was asked for. Guess what happened? I ended up being totally overwhelmed at work, because I was asked for a lot of favors – usually work nobody else wanted to do. It took me a while to put my foot down, but finally I said “Enough!”.
From then on my first answer to all questions for favors was “NO! Sorry. Can’t do it. Very busy at the moment!”
By starting to say “No” often, I improved my work life a lot and actually freed up a lot of time. But make sure you say “NO” without feeling guilty! You can explain to the person in question that it’s not anything personal against them, but for your own wellbeing. I could still do my colleagues a favor, but only if I had enough time and decided to. Suddenly I was in the driver’s seat. If I was up for it I would mention to the colleague in question that I’m only doing a favor and in no case do I want to end up doing the job.
Selfish? Yes! But keep in mind who the most important person in your life is. That’s right! YOU are the most important person in your life! You have to be well! Only if you are well yourself, can you be well towards others and from this level you can contribute to others, but first be well yourself. You can always buy some time and say “maybe” at first, until you come to a definite decision. Life gets a lot easier if you start saying “No”!
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Whose life are you living? Are you living your own life or trying to please and fulfill the expectations of others?
- Who and what are you going to say NO to starting NOW?
Make a list of things that you will stop doing!