Why do we always think we need to immediately respond with a “yes” when someone asks us to do something? How often do we find ourselves regretting that quick “yes” when we actually look at the rest of our schedule and commitments? If we are going to escape the overwhelm, we must activate our “pause power.” While this doesn’t mean you ignore the person asking you to do something, you can let this person know that you are not going to make an immediate decision. One response could be: Thank you for thinking of me. Let me check my schedule and existing commitments and get back to you. Join me this week as I highlight three things you can do when you empower your “pause.”
Evaluate whether this request fits into your current priorities and commitments
If this request aligns with your current commitments and helps you achieve your top priorities, then it is likely a good option. However, if this request is outside your current priorities, even if it’s a great opportunity, I highly recommend turning it down. When it’s someone you enjoy and respect, it’s even more difficult to say “no” but it is often necessary. We only have a limited amount of time in our day and week and every “yes” is an automatic “no” to something else. If we keep saying “yes” to things that distract us from our priorities and commitments then we are demonstrating that those are not our true priorities and commitments.
Review what you are already saying “yes” to in your life
I don’t know about you, but some days I just “feel” like I have a lot more time and other days that I “feel” like I am completely overwhelmed. When you take the time to pause, you can write down ALL of the things you are saying yes to in your life. If you can use a large whiteboard, notebook or something that you can easily see, you can clearly “see” your existing commitments. If you make a decision without examining the other “yes’s,” you are likely to underestimate the time you have already allocated to other things. I encourage you to try doing this kind of exercise at least once per quarter even if no one has asked you for anything at the moment. Although, you probably don’t have too many days that don’t include someone asking something of you! 🙂
Examine “why” you would say “yes” to this request or person
Are you saying yes because you think you owe someone something or perhaps to please someone? Do you really want to say “yes” or do you think you “should” say yes? While there are times it is important to support our partners and their work, be very cautious with your “yes” and remember to reflect on #1 and #2 first! If you are only saying “yes” out of obligation and you don’t really want to do it, then be honest.Let go of saying yes because you “should.” If you know it does not fit well within your current priorities or schedule but you hate letting down a friend, then I encourage you to be courageous. Courageously and kindly say “no” or “not right now.” I really like Michael Hyatt’s “no” response, “In order for me to fulfill my existing commitments, I cannot…..”
So how are you going to practice your pause?
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