written by Lindsay Hodge
Of all of the life lessons that I've learned in 30 years, the one that has been the hardest for me to learn is, "Don't be afraid of 'No.'" I have always overburdened myself with worthy causes and projects. I am literally afraid of saying no to certain things because I don't want to miss out on changing the world for the better. However, I have realized that when I say yes to everything, I am also saying no. To everything.
I have learned that life is all about prioritizing and making sure the most important things get done first. There is just no way that I can do everything that I want to do. Not in one lifetime. I can take a good stab at it, and often I find that I am able to do more than I ever thought possible, but there comes a time when I just need to say no.
If I don't say no, my yeses will suffer.
Personally, I like to imagine that my life is like a jar. Every day I get to fill the jar with ROCKS (the most important things in my life), PEBBLES (the secondary priorities) and SAND (the least important things that I really like to do). Every evening I get to dump it out and see what I've done with my day.
The trick to fitting it all into my jar is to do things in the correct order. If I put sand in front of pebbles, or pebbles in front of rocks, those most important things just don't fit into the jar, and there are tons of air pockets or empty spaces around those big bits at the top. The rocks MUST go first. The pebbles MUST go second. The sand MUST go last. In this order the jar gets filled to capacity with out any air pockets or empty spaces.
All too often at the end of the day, I've found that my jar has more sand and pebbles than rocks, and I am often disappointed by the empty spaces. I feel like I could have done a better job filling my jar. Those empty spaces tell me that I missed out on something important. I feel like I worked really hard and have nothing to show for it. That is when I know that I've said yes to too many of the wrong things. Well, maybe "wrong" is too strong of a word. I mostly mean "not good enough" things. In any case, I know that it is time to start harnessing the Power of No. (That sounds like something out of a Sci-Fi/fantasy story doesn't it! My mother would be so proud!)
When I've used the Power of No to keep my priorities straight, I see my jar get full. All of the rocks and pebbles find their way in, and the sand fills in the empty spaces. That is when I trully feel fulfilled and successful. Sometimes there is a little pile of sand sitting next to my jar, and that is okay. My jar is full. Someone else can pick up the leftover sand.
If you want to use the Power of No, Please do the following:
When it comes to being a work from home mom, or a stay at home mom with a great hobby, or however I like to look at it, I often find myself struggling with this. I want my personal priorities to be something like this:
but in practice I generally do something like this:
This misprioritizing happens when I say yes to too many career/hobby activities. That's one reason why I am no longer a writer for hire. (I just made the change!) I really need to start saying no. I'm still going to write. It's just going to be easier to put my big priorities first if I don't have to work on someone else's deadlines as well as my own!
I'm sure it happens to other folks too. If you need to harness the Power of NO, or if you have already done this, leave me a comment and tell me your story. I love stories:-)
About the Author : Lindsay Hodge
I am a writer and a photographer, a stay-at-home-mom, a wife, a homesteader and I am interested in all things sustainable. My husband and I own our own homestead... If you like that sort of thing, you can check out my OTHER website.
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