I was at a huge event when it happened. The noises that had just filled my ears surrounded me and went quiet. It was just me and my thoughts. I could hear my own heart beating. The voice was so quiet that I almost didn’t hear it. My inner self said to me, “I can’t do this anymore…”
I quickly came back to the moment at hand and tried to shake off the incident as if I didn’t know what a significant event had just happened. Things were going well and I was enjoying what I was doing. There is a huge “high” to running an event. Especially online. My job was FUN. I attended events and reported them via social media. Live Tweeting events is such a rush. Reporting and painting a virtual picture of what is happening in a room for people that can only read 140 characters at a time across the world is invigorating.
The problem was that over the last year and a half I had become someone I didn’t want to be. I worked all the time. I was constantly learning, on social media or filling my sales funnel. I was speaking at every event that I was invited to, having meetings when people were available and often taking phone calls and emails in the evening and late at night. I would stay at my desk even though the kids had just walked through the door from school. When I did come downstairs, it was with my laptop and I was barely present. In my mind, I thought that I had to work all the time. In all my madness I was missing life. I was disconnected from my husband and children. My house was a mess. Not like messy, but packed with stuff we didn’t need, the laundry was always behind, and it really could use a deep cleaning.
I had a pit in my stomach after I was home and everything settled after that event. Why did I have that moment? In my almost 40 years here on earth, I have come to know that t hose tiny whispers, those quick fleeting moments always come to be very significant in my life.
I have a tendency to “look for signs”. I believe that it has led me on a bit of a wild goose chase sometimes. If someone suggests something I should do I think, “is that a sign of what I am meant to do?” If I am invited to speak, I wonder if that is the event where I meet someone that will end up being a strong business partner or associate? I had to do a bit of soul searching. Just because I had this moment doesn’t mean that I just… what? What do I just do?
I went on speaking at major conferences, working with my clients and waiting to see where my business went. What I realized was that I just didn’t love it the way I once did. It was bringing me in the wrong direction in life. It was pulling me away from my family when I needed something that supported the wife and mother I wanted to be.
In my pondering one day of what was to come next, I heard another whisper. “Just be a Mom” I was fighting who I was. Not anymore. So, in order to be who I want to be, I need a good’s night rest. I want to be home in the afternoon and evening so that I can spend the four hours a day that my kids are home with them and I really do need the house organized and running well.
2014 is going to be very different than 2013. I will be writing this blog during school hours. I don’t answer emails or take phone calls between 4-8pm. I go to bed by 10pm and I am not going to early meetings or late ones either. I have realized I need to say “no”. Until this realization came along, I had NO IDEA I was a people pleaser. Crazy right?! To me it was. I immediately just say yes. Then the dreaded email came inviting me to speak at an event in the evening. The worst evening of the week. My husband works in the restaurant business, so his schedule is always changing and is often working at night. Ah! This first no was going to be so hard. I really liked the girl that asked me to speak and I really wanted to speak to her group! But it was on an evening that my husband was working. It took my HOURS to type the words, “I’m sorry but I can not do it”. Then she said it was okay. I was still breathing! The world was still turning. It was amazing. Then someone asked me to breakfast. I thought, sure I can pull this off. It wasn’t in my set boundaries, but it was close, so I’ll go for it. The day came, school was delayed for weather and I had to cancel. We rescheduled. The kids got sick. I had to cancel AGAIN! I was humiliated! Okay! Lesson learned… A week later, I got another email inviting me to speak at an evening event. So this time, I took a deep breath and responded no. They said thank you and asked if I had a suggestion for my topic. Amazing. Once again the world was still turning and more importantly my WIFI connection was still strong.
Steps to Saying NO
1. Determine Your Boundaries
Think about what you can work within without overdoing it. Once you start going down that slippery slope it is difficult to climb out of it. Don’t worry if you think your boundaries may seem silly to someone else. You created them for a reason.
2. Evaluate the situation
Does this opportunity fall within your boundaries? For this article, we are focusing on opportunities that do not.
Take a deep breath and be confident about your choice.
3. Say No
Respond as quickly as you can. Thank the person for the opportunity, and then just say that you can not attend. You do not even need to state why! (I know, amazing right?)