Updated: Jun 27, 2020
Have you ever feel overwhelmed with too many things coming at you at the same time? And, have you ever had a hard time letting any of them go?
I've been there way too many times. I get quickly excited about almost everything. New projects, new learning opportunities, networking events, committees, you name it. I am the king of person that wants to be involved in everything. I used to have a hard time saying know, and to be honest I still have sometimes.
For me the reason behind that is the fear of letting someone down, which is a common reason why people struggle to say no. In my case is my desire to be involved, to be a pioneer, my desire to learn something new. In other words, the fear of missing out. I mean, what is this is the next great thing and I am not part of it.
This fear of missing out has created high levels of stress and let me to feel overwhelmed, sometimes not being able to give my 100% and taken me out of balance. Sometimes even have lead to disappointment. I mean after putting the extra effort and time to participate or do something, I realized that it was not all what I was expecting and hoping it to be.
I believe wanting to do it all is a good thing. I mean, it typically comes with high levels of energy, commitment, motivation and determination. On the other hand, if comes with the risk of burning out, or ending up not doing anything in our aim to do everything.
A big lesson learned for me has been to learn to say "no". This is what has helped me get better at saying no:
Have clear my priorities.
Ask myself a series of questions like: Does this align with my priorities? Is this something important or a top priority for someone I care about? What is the time commitment? and is it worth it? Because saying yes to something means saying no to something else. Finally I ask myself, when I heard about this opportunity for the first time, what was my initial reaction? was I excited and thought "hell yes, I absolutely want to do this"? Answering these questions helps me prioritize and decided what I want to commit to and when to say no.
Once I've decided I am going to say "no" to something, the next step is to let the person asking about my decision. I know sometimes for many people this is the hardest part of saying "no". You might be afraid of what the others might think of you. You might be afraid the other person may think you are not committed or you are not a team player.
I've learned those "opinions" are only in your head. We make them up and I bet no one has said anything to you, but the fear of what other's might think of you, that is what is stressing you out.
Learning how to effectively say "no" is as important as making the decision not to pursue that thing. Let me share some of the things that I do that help me be able to articulate that "no"
Get out of your own head! talk yourself out of that, repeat to yourself "is only in my head, no one will think anything negative about me for saying no".
Always be honest to yourself and the other person.
Don't back up. Stay firm in your decision. Remember that saying "yes" to something means saying "no" to something else.
Think of the things you will be saying "no" to if you say "yes" to this one thing you already decided not to do and keep that in mind to help you stay focused and firm in your decision.
Just say "no" and explain why you can do this at this time.If it's a no forever, make sure you make that clear, if it's a no now but maybe later, leave the door open and explain why now is not possible for you to support.
Let it go!!! Focus on the things you are saying "yes" and move from the fear of missing out to the joy of missing out.
So, how do you do it all? Well, you don't. As Steve jobs said, "Focus doesn't mean saying yes, it means saying no"