The New Year is here and it can be overwhelming. There is good stress and there is distress, which causes harm. When the stress is too high, we lose the ability to think clearly and to make good decisions. Both our business and personal lives suffer.
My Story. We met our 18-year-old daughter, who is now away at college in Ohio, for our annual large family Holiday reunion in Chicago. Oh, what a joy to reunite after three months of being empty-nesters. We soon found out that Annie had been burning the candle at both ends at school, working hard and playing hard. She was staying up too late, getting too little sleep. When she finally took this family break, she realized, “I did not know how tired I was, until I stopped.” When she did stop, she determined that she had been fighting off a virus for over month, her resistance was low, and she was sick. Her body was giving her a message, “Say No. Put up some boundaries. Focus, finish, and then fly.” It has happened to me; it has likely happened to you. Before you get sick or your business crashes, say no! Here’s how.
- Focus by Saying No. When you Pursue Purpose, this requires setting boundaries and saying no to many things in order to say yes to priorities. Put a reminder “Say No” on your smartphone and tape a handwritten note to your computer monitor. Taking things away can open space for more.
- Look. Identify times that you said no in the past. Think of examples when you successfully said no to say yes. What helped or hindered you?
- Inquire. Ask yourself what is blocking you from saying no. “The answer lies within you,” The Alchemist said. In reality, many of us have been unable to hear that answer from our internal, wiser self. Stay open so you can hear the message and take appropriate action. You might be surprised by what you hear.
- Find stillness. Where do you find stillness? It always exists, but we often make sounds to cover up silence. It may come from meditation, a walk in nature, sitting in silence, prayer, or some other contemplative path. This strengthens your ability to focus.
- List. Make a list of all the good reasons to say no.
- Practice. Try saying no to the easy, unimportant things.
- Reaffirm your goals and purpose. When you know what you want, it is easier to say no to distractions and things that take you away from your priorities. As we finish off another year, this is the perfect time for your business planning and your personal life planning. Assess progress toward your goals. Where do you want to go? What are the right actions in the New Year to get you there? What should you continue, start, or stop doing?
Get clear on your goals and priorities. What passionate purpose are you pursuing? Say no in order to say yes. Saying no brings focus and meaningful progress. Saying no brings you peace. Saying no brings you time to connect with yourself, important others, and the Greater Spirit. This brings you comfort, joy, and a life well lived.