It’s been a week. Or two. Re-learning that little two letter word – “no.”
Twenty years or so ago, a great friend asked me to help lead a political campaign for a candidate I didn’t adore but I was flattered and said yes.
If you know me, you know I am not a morning person and that I depend on yoga for sanity. Yet for this friend, I got up on Saturday mornings for 8 a.m. meetings that meant skipping my 9 a.m. yoga class.
On top of that, my role was to run phone banks. For a candidate I wasn’t excited about. Where our best argument was we weren’t the other guy. Yuk!
I swore after that campaign, I would never volunteer for something I didn’t’ care about and would not do things I didn’t like to do for free again.
But some lessons you have to learn again and again. A few weeks ago, a woman I admire asked me to lead a chapter of her organization. I said yes. I wanted to support her and I wanted access to the group. But then she overruled my decisions, blamed delays she cause on me, and basically threw me under the bus. So what to do?
Continuing to support her in this way, no matter who I get to meet is not worth it. I need to renegotiate. Maybe I made a mistake. I need to step away and forgive myself for overpromising. I have decided to demote myself to just being a member. It’s ok to say no.
In retrospect, I should have said no at the beginning. I have more than enough on my plate. I need to be in charge of another thing as much as a fish needs a bicycle. Belonging gives me nearly as much access.
I created this meme two years ago. If something does none of these three things, I need to say no and will recommit to saying no. That’s the only way to have enough time and resources to do the things that do create fun, do good in the world, and generate revenue (that can also be invested in doing good and having fun).
What about you? What can you say no to so that you can focus on what you really want?