A huge part of leadership is knowing when to say ‘no’ to things, even when you are attracted to the task or the work. There is no substitute for self-care on this journey we call LIFE.
– Heidi Murray
Point to Ponder:
What are you disingenuously saying ‘yes’ to?
Start saying ‘no’ to things that do not serve you or that you are likely to complain about afterwards. Start saying ‘yes’ to things that you truly enjoy and that allow you to be your best.
Since listening to Brené Brown at last year’s Texas Conference for Women, watching her brilliant vulnerability talk on TED.com and Oprah, and then reading her book Daring Greatly, she’s my new BFF. She of course doesn’t know me from Adam, but her authentic and transparent communication style is wonderfully appealing. Maybe I’m partial because she’s a native Texan, but that she’d admit to becoming depressed and curling up to jar of peanut butter after reading nasty comments about her TED talk is refreshing- and that was even after her insanely popular video went viral. Now that’s my kind of woman!
In my opinion, Brené’s research findings that vulnerability is the key to living a rich, meaningful and fulfilling life are both fantastic and HORRIBLE! I love the idea of being vulnerable (on my terms, in the comfort of my home and playing by my rules) but when it comes to showing weaknesses in front of others or even my family…now that’s another story. But, that’s where I am wrong. According to Brené, vulnerability is not weakness, rather it’s just the opposite. Vulnerability is being bold, courageous and confident enough to love and accept ourselves despite our flaws fears, failures and insecurities. It’s also putting ourselves “out there” in a way that might possibly result in rejection, criticism or heartache. And, vulnerability is loving ourselves so much that we’re willing to say ‘no,’ even at the expense of disappointing others…which is my Achilles heal.
From birth, I’ve been a people pleaser. Well, maybe not that long, but being the youngest of two and my parents divorcing when I was seven, developing a comedic and “yes girl” personality (making people laugh and trying to never rock the boat) became my subconscious way of dealing with uncomfortable family dymanics. This not-so-ideal characteristic plagued me until a few years ago, when I realized the root of my chronic “yes-ness.” Despite wanting to say ‘no’ to plenty of things, I was so insecure and wanted to be liked so badly that I coudn’t bare to say ‘no,’ for fear of disappointing them (a.k.a, for fear of rejection). In addition, it became clear to me that I based people’s acceptance of me on actions, rather than them simply liking me, for me. Finally, saying ‘yes’ to everything was exhausting, unhealthy, unsustainable, and disingenuous, because most of the time I didn’t want to be doing whatever it was.
Clearly, I’ve thought this whole ‘saying no thing’ through time and time again, as I am super susceptible to reverting back to my old ways (what’s comfortable). However, I am determined to live vulnerably and am convicted to the power of ‘no.’ Ironically, saying ‘no’ is liberating, confidence-buidling and actually opens doors to opportunities that are not only important to me, but give me energy and allow me to be my best. And when we are at our best, we can wholeheartedly serve others and give our greatest gifts to the world.
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