Raise your hand if you’re a recovering people pleaser like me. My bet is most women reading this are. We are the peace-makers, the do-gooder’s, and the keep it all together with a smile kinda gals. We want to be a Super Mom and we think that if we can just do it all and make all the people happy while making it look effortless, then maybe that Mom of the Year medal might finally show up in the mail we have been so patiently waiting for.
Reality check: Staying up all night making vegan cookies for your kids bake sale won’t make you a better mom, just a cranky one that even a double shot in your caramel macchiato might not fix in the morning. Taking on 3 extra projects at work might seem like a good career move to show your dedication, but the rest of your life is taking a back seat to your over-packed schedule. No amount of being guilted into chaperoning field trips or volunteer hours in your church are going to make you a better person if your heart isn’t in it.
Now hear me out when I say there is absolutely a place for serving others and showing up for people, even when it’s not your favorite thing. Helping others is my goal in life; it’s not only my passion but my purpose and I take it seriously. But there’s a difference in serving because you are passionate about that cause and in being shamed for not saying yes to everything that’s thrown your way. It’s okay to say no and that simple word can actually be a sentence; no explanation required.
As Jenna Kutcher says, “If it’s not a ‘Hell Yes!’ then it’s a ‘No’.” Maybe you really don’t like serving in the nursery at church, but singing in the choir lights your soul on fire. Just because you might have a baby doesn’t mean you love every baby. You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing if it’s not in your wheelhouse. Do what you can that gets you excited without sacrificing your priorities or sanity. Remember, every ‘yes’ to an activity is a ‘no’ to something else. Check out Lysa Terkeurst’s book The Best Yes here. A great way to help deicide what your ‘best yes’ really is in a life full of endless demands.
Let’s take some notes from Rachel Hollis in her book Girl, Stop Apologizing, which you need to pick up here, because it’s really that good, on how to make the decision on what to say no to and how to do it.
- Decide on the four points of focus in your life. What 4 areas are most important to you. Mine are my faith, being an exceptional wife and mother, my own self-growth and serving out my purpose by helping others. If an activity doesn’t serve theses 4 areas in some way, it’s a hard no from me. If everything is demanding your attention, you will loose focus on what’s most important.
- Respond quickly and stick to it. Only touch that email or text once. Make a decision and then stick to it. Don’t leave it up to interpretation where they could try to convince you otherwise if you seem like your on the fence.
- Be polite, but firm. Be honest and open about saying no, but be kind. If you can’t bear to spend one more hour holding doors as the welcome committee at church, let someone know. Perhaps you would be better working in the cafe brewing up your favorite coffee creations for your fellow church-goers. Maybe you’re just burnt out and need a few weekends to yourself. That’s okay! Tell them you will he taking a little time off but will let them know when your able to start back up and let that be the end of it.
- Stop with the guilt. There is no possible way for you to say yes to every single thing that gets thrown our way. Our most valuable commodity in this world is our time, and we can never get it back once it’s gone. By only accepting the activities into our lives that are helping us focus on our most important areas, we are giving ourselves some space to grow in those places. Don’t feel guilty for saying no to doing something you hate, be proud for saying yes to the things that light you up!
Have you started to practice saying no to the things that aren’t in your 4 areas of focus? How has this changed your time management or serving others in a way you love? Comment below and join the conversation!