It started off innocently enough... I got a phone call from an acquaintance who was so excited because she had a perfect opportunity for me and she couldn't think of anyone else who could do it better. The opportunity? It wasn't a pyramid scheme, it was for a position as a Chairperson for a local annual festival. Unpaid - but ultimately to benefit several charities (although I was never clear who got what and how much). It's basically a golden ticket to have a camp spot and free access to world class entertainment, wine and food. And it sounded like fun the way she put it.
Except for one thing. I really didn't want to do it. See I had already started the process of untangling myself from volunteer obligations so that I could spend more family time and this particular event meant I was spending an entire weekend away from them. I know, they could come but my husband hates festivals and wine and it's not really a kid event. And internally I was saying to myself "please don't say yes".
And out of my mouth it popped. "Sure I can do that. No problem".
Seriously. And so I spent months of planning and a whole weekend of exhausting work in the heat away from my home and in the process I learned an invaluable lesson - I was finally done with saying 'Yes'. Over it. And you know what? It didn't hurt people's feelings when I said 'No' and it didn't bruise my ego to turn things down that 'only I was qualified for' and I found that it actually made me feel stronger. I was in control of my own destiny. Did I lose some friends? Yes, quite a few because I was no longer dedicating my life to doing things for free and I dropped out of the volunteer circle where those friends can be found. But guess what? If I need help on a project who would I call? Probably those same friends, because I know they can't help themselves and they would feel obligated to say 'Yes'.
How many times have you said yes when all you really wanted to do was shout no? Why did you do it? How would it have felt to have said 'No'? Sometimes you can justify the 'Yes'... in fact I bet most times you have some perfectly 'valid' reasons for moving forward. Perhaps it's 'no big deal' or 'they really need my help', or my favorite 'I'm the only one who knows how to do it right'. There are holes in your reasons and you know it.
Remember this - every time you say 'Yes' when you mean 'No' you give away your power. You weaken yourself because you're not honoring what you really want. And you think that 'No' is hard to say but it gets easier and easier because each time you do it you get stronger.
So yes, 'We Can Do It' - we can say that magical word 'No'.