For quite sometime I have been dealing with a huge problem, but I had no idea. The bizarre thing about this problem is that most would think how could that even be a problem. It seems like it would be something that we all would want and even strive for. The challenge is when this problem kicks into overdrive it causes serious problems including self esteem, and for me just even dealing with the world. The problem stems from one word, and many people today have no clue how big of a problem just one simple word creates. That word is yes.
While yes by itself is not a problem, what stands behind it can be. If all that yes means for you is people will like me more, then you can relate to where I have been for most of my life. I sought out approval. I sought out the yes. You see for me it started at an early age, and is a story for another time, but in todays reality it has been a barrier. I lost my voice in the process of always saying yes. I lost my sense of balance. When you are always saying yes it becomes such a struggle to not get to such a high level of overcommitment that you have no where to turn. You begin to feel paralyzed at even calling a client and telling them of delays because you feel they won’t like you. You feel like you will have let them down. In reality you just are letting yourself down.
Saying no is tough because someone may not like us. In reality though we are just kidding ourselves. I struggled with this. How is it possible for someone to like us if we say no? I just did not understand it. Today I still struggle with it, but the reality is something that most of us forget about which is boundaries. We want to do so much that we get lost in the everythingness of just doing as much as possible, but in reality it is not a life worth living. It is living someone else’s life and not our own.
Enabling yourself to be happy and facing the dreaded no starts with your foundation. Who and what are you? Why do you exist? Why do you go to work? Why do you do what you do? Why are you?
For me the balance was shot. More work would be great. More income and better success. The reality is most of the time less is always more. Imagine if you are able to focus on just one thing today how much better you may be able to complete that task. Imagine if all you did today was focus on your relationship with your spouse, kids, relatives, or friends it will change your life. Saying no can help create balance and when you tell people that truly care about you that you need to think before you give them an answer it helps build respect.
I am not suggesting you say no to everything because remember your balance. Remember what matters most. Remember that life is not worth living by yourself, but with others around you and you certainly have to give back to whatever makes you who you are. The challenge for me though has been realizing that as long as I am treating each person with dignity and respect the no becomes less personal. My personal worth rests inside myself and not with others. I believe that for everyone. Find who you are and stop letting the no be so personal.
For years I have been struggling to identify myself as a leader. A leader who can lead and affect change. Why?
I believed I was someone in reality I was not. I believed the words that were spoken to me by people in haste and anger instead of trust and understanding.
We believe these things to often. Words hurt. Words however do not define us. We define us.
How do you define yourself? Look at yourself 10 years from now and what do you want to be. Go do it! Take one step today in that direction.