So it's been quite a while since I last blogged here and that's partly because I've not been very good at practicing the title of this post!
I know I'm by no means alone in this; many of us find it hard to say 'no' whether it be to a boss or work colleague, to friends, partner, family or to a random in the street! We're constantly barraged by requests for our time and the instant nature of email, social media, of always being 'on' makes this even truer now than it was even 10 years ago (I'm showing my age here).
There are any number of reasons why we don't want to say that one, little, mono-syllabic word; because we don't want to disappoint the other person, because we don't want to miss out, because we want to prove that we can do it all, because we view saying 'no' as some kind of failure.
We end up agreeing to do things that we don't want to, things that we don't need to and things that we definitely don't have time for, to the detriment of other parts of our lives and sometimes even to our own health.
But enough is enough!
Forgive me if it sounds like I'm going on a bit of a rant, but it's only because I feel pretty strongly about this particular subject.
Saying no isn't about making a negative choice, in fact it's quite the opposite. It's a deliberate positive choice to make way for saying yes to the things that serve you and your objectives, rather than just saying yes for the sake of not upsetting someone.
Learning to say no means valuing your time and focusing on your priorities. Not going to that pointless meeting about a project that you're barely involved in doesn't make you bad at your job, it means that you're prioritising the other areas of your business that you're moving forward. Not going to that evening networking event doesn't mean that you're a hermit or that you're missing out on all the fun that people are most likely (not) having, instead it gives you time to spend with your friends/partner/kids, to go out for a run or maybe to sit at home and just unwind.
Now I'm not saying that we should say 'no' to everything that we can't be bothered to do - that's not the message here and wouldn't be advisable if you're keen on remaining gainfully employed. Instead, it's worth taking a step back when a request comes in and deciding if you a) want to do it b) have to do it and c) have the time to do it without sacrificing something that's important to you. This is what I like to call the holy trinity and it's remarkably helpful when it comes to saying no.
I don't pretend to be an expert, but it's definitely something I'm getting better at with age. Work-life balance is something that most people struggle with and a key step towards it is realizing that - no matter how much we may want to believe differently - we simply cannot do everything. There's no prize for being all things to all people and it only leaves you feeling exhausted and vaguely resentful of all the time you've lost.
Value your time and, remember, saying no to someone else is sometimes just about saying yes to yourself.
All opinions are my own and this blog is intended for motivational and informational purposes only. The information is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult a medical professional before starting a training or nutrition program.