Every day offers new opportunities for activity, along with the challenges of keeping on track with priorities. Accomplishing things step-by-step is helpful in bringing ourselves back into a state of balance.
Have you ever said “yes” too many times and gotten yourself into a place of overwhelm? I have. I realized what was behind the “yes” was my desire to serve and to help (which is a good thing), but sometimes ego can be in there, too.
Has anyone ever said to you something like, “We’re looking for someone with your gifts and talents,” or “We need someone who has your insight to guide this.” Saying “yes” to something and knowing that it will be of service to others is a very good thing. Saying “yes” to something, knowing that you are already over-committed, but it will give you the opportunity to shine, is another. There’s nothing wrong with “shining” in the world. It can be a good thing. But it can be a part of the motivation in making choices that will send you into overwhelm or cause other priorities or commitments to be compromised, derailing your purpose in life and creating difficulty–not only for yourself but others. Also, when in overwhelm there is usually not time for the things that can help you stay balanced and healthy (like exercise, sufficient rest, and social and creative time). You cannot give the energy needed for things if you get seriously depleted or become ill.
I don’t write about anything that I haven’t experienced myself, and I can tell you, the overwhelm from saying “yes” too much kept me in a place of chaos for several months. It had nothing to do with the people or the organizations I said “yes” to. They would have kindly understood if I had said “no.” It had to do with me and my choices.
So, if you have a patterned tendency to “yes” yourself into overwhelm, here are a few things that can help:
1. Stay in the moment with life choices, using discernment before giving an answer. In other words, don’t fall back on a past pattern of taking things on or automatically saying, “yes.” The answer probably doesn’t have to be given right away.
2. Ask yourself, “Is this going to prevent me from honoring other commitments?”
3. Ask, “Will I still be able to take care of myself (health and happiness), if I do this?
4. Ask, “Is being considered indispensable or wanting to shine one of the main reasons for saying “yes?”
5. Take a break. If conflicted or in doubt, take some quiet time to just ask for guidance. Deeper or higher levels of ourselves probably already know the answer.
6. Talk to significant others or those in our lives the decision will impact.
After having honestly considered all these things, and you think that saying”yes” is still the best choice, you’ll have entered into the decision and commitment consciously. Then there is more room to truly and happily give of yourself and serve.
Mary Claire O’Neal is the author of the award-winning book, Becoming What You Want to See in the World, and is a communication consultant, coach and speaker.
© Copyright, Mary Claire O’Neal
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