Now some people may be horrified when they read the title of this article but the reality is most of us struggle to say ‘No’ and the cost is usually our time or money and our ability to achieve what we want to in life. Let’s face it we were all given the gift of life and if there is a plan for us surely it is the one we should be designing for ourselves. Yet we compromise that plan because we struggle to say that little word.
It could be that we believe that saying no is uncaring, even selfish, and we may have a fear of letting other people down. On top of this may be a fear of being disliked, criticised, or risking a friendship. The reality is, it is impossible to please everyone, so we should prioritise and understand who are the most important people in our lives (and especially include ourselves in those plans).
Now here’s an completely normal example. We are all allowed to be happy every day and the only thing that stops us being happy is the choices we make. One of those choices is what we are going to be doing with our time. If we assume we are going to give eight hours to our career (whether that be your business or employer) in exchange for the cash we need to live our lives, and we should be using at least eight hours for rest, we put aside 30-60 minutes for exercise, an hour in the morning preparing ourselves for work (having breakfast), 30-60 minutes for lunch (where we make catch up with friends or squeeze our exercise in) that leaves us with around five of six hours a day doing the things we want to do. This means during the normal working week we have around five to six hours to concentrate on the activities for our own benefit. These maybe further education, entertainment or doing the activities that we enjoy.
If you have children (and I have four) most of this time will be spent with them, and it should be. There is nothing wrong with that. In the weekend, time can quickly be filled up with laundry, kid’s sports, house and garden maintenance and simply recharging the battery (sleeping in etc.) helping friends out or visiting relatives.
Suddenly when you look back at the week at all these “activities” you have only a few hours per week or less for yourself? Unless of course you start saying no.
Saying no actually starts with you deciding to design the life you would love and then ensuring you prioritise time for yourself. When it comes to designing, I mean making a real plan written down, with actions and everything a plan designed for a life you love to live that will make you happy every day. Now if it ends up looking like the life example described above and that truly makes you happy all well and good, however in most cases once we do this our plan looks very different.
Another reality is you are most likely going to get more respect when you say no.
No doubt, you will need to compromise but a rule I live by these days is every day I am doing something that helps me achieve the life I love to have. Every day my plan is to be happy and no one gets to take the time I have put aside for that. This may only be an hour per day but even then, it means I have had to learn to say no.
What would you achieve if you gave yourself seven hours’ personal time per week?
My goal over the next few years is to increase my personal time, increase my ‘no’s and to teach my children to do the same. Although funny enough they are pretty good at this already – maybe a lesson right there.
If I truly want them to be successful and have the life they would love to have is this not the right approach?