Yes is a pretty easy word for many of us to say. While it is usually “no” that gives us more difficulty. There really is an art to saying yes so let’s talk about it.
The Back Story
Let me begin with the back story as to why I am even writing this post in the first place. I am a “yes” person in every sense of the word. I am someone called upon to do extra at my workplace. Favors get asked of me a lot and in general, I am the resource that people know they can come to because I will say “yes.” I equal parts love this because by nature, I am a helpful person. Yet being this “yes” person in your work place can and ultimately does burn you out. Been there done that!
To make matters even more interesting, I also became the “yes” person in my social and volunteer life. Again, I can’t reiterate enough that I love being a resource for people-come one, come all. But there has to be a balance and I didn’t have that. I found myself taking on projects that though I could handle them, they consumed my time and energy. I said “yes” to things that I technically didn’t have time for but managed to make happen. Nor did I turn down a social invite, a chance to be a part of a project nor an opportunity that presented itself. Heck, I even signed myself up for most of them!
But ultimately, I burned myself out. I lost interest. I lost focus. Saying “yes” became regretful and being the type A personality I am, I kept enduring. I’m a passionate person so when I say “yes” then I am saying a huge “heck yes” and am all in. At times this affected my overall well-being. That’s when I realized I needed to step back and re-evaluate my “yeses.”
Saying “yes” to something should be of value to you and/or others. In my opinion as a society, we are so stuck on saying “yes” to everything. So much so that it has become detrimental to our health, our sanity and our overall well-being. So I ask you this. Why are you saying yes?
If your answer is that you don’t know then you haven’t found that balance yet. Don’t worry, it took me a really long time to figure it out too. Like 10 years long time. It’s only been within the last year that I have started assessing saying “yes” to something using the below guidelines.
- Does it benefit me in some way?
- Does it directly benefit someone else in some way?
- Do I realistically have the time to take it on?
- Am I passionate about what I would be doing?
These four simple yet impactful questions make a huge difference in what I say “yes” to. It’s also why I refer to this as an art. Though these questions are simple, you may find them hard to answer at first. Especially if you are like me and tend to justify saying “yes” to everything because “why not?” However, if you truly want to find a balance then I think these can really help you. No, they aren’t backed by science or anything crazy like that but they are backed by 10ish years of experience not using them and one phenomenal year of putting them to the test.
I keep referring to this so called balance. What I mean by that is finding a happy medium between saying “yes” and saying “no” to protect your overall well-being. For example, consider what you would do in the following scenarios:
Scenario #1: A co-worker asks you take on a project for him/her that will take approximately 3-4 hours of work each week for several months.
- Things to think about-will you gain something from this project like learning a new skill? Will you be of major benefit to a co-worker that has helped you out before? Do you have 3-4 hours in your work week to tackle the project? Is it on a topic you are passionate about or something you will dread?
- These are important things to consider before immediately saying “yes.” Maybe this is something worth agreeing to but first stop to assess where you are before just readily agreeing.
Scenario #2: You decide you want to start a side hustle to bring in a little more income. In order to do this though, you will have to shell out some money first and commit 1-2 hours a day for the next few months working to get it off the ground.
- Things to think about-will the return (either financial or otherwise) be worth the input? Can you commit 1-2 hours daily to this hustle without it negatively impacting another area of your life such as your family time or self-care or even your sleep? Chances are you are passionate about this hustle or you wouldn’t be considering it in the first place so that’s a win.
- As someone that has taken on a side hustle here and there, I will share that really thinking through the why of this type of “yes” is most important. Take time to really evaluate what is to gain here before proceeding.
I truly hope you get a takeaway from this post and that it helps you start to evaluate the things you are saying “yes” to. By no means is this strategy fail proof nor do I have any way of knowing if it will work as well for you as it has for me but you never know until you try. Evaluating my “yeses” has positively impacted my life, saved me some sanity and let me really connect with those things that I did commit to. I am better for saying “no” to certain things that I couldn’t give my all to and I can now say “yes” knowing I will give it all I got!