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The 1 Life Lesson That Finally Taught Me How To Say NO!

Yes or NoAfter almost 5 decades I have finally begun to say NO.

If you are anything like me, saying NO has been a tough idea. And every year, as life has become more and more demanding, it seemed to get harder and harder. Whether it was getting involved in the church, helping friends move, DIY home renovation projects, volunteering at the kids’ school, or taking professional development courses, the list goes on and on. They are all good things, things that are worthwhile endeavours.

When I was younger, I believed I could just do everything. That somehow, I could fold time magically and continue to squeeze more and more out of a day. Ultimately, I came to two profound, life-changing realizations.

First, I realized that I can’t do everything – I am not Superman.

What I thought was “compressing time” or “better time management” was just losing out on the things that I really valued (like sleep, personal time, exercise, or time with my family). I was filling that time with other things that were much lower in my values system.

Second, I realized that every time I say YES to something, it means that I am saying NO to something else – whether I am conscious of it or not.

I only have so many hours in my day, and I only have so much energy to get things done. If I continue to make commitments and schedule things into my day, it will gradually squeeze out things like time to play with the kids, help with homework, working on new and interesting projects for my business, or just plain sitting and reading a book with a cup of coffee to charge my batteries.

So what is the 1 Life Lesson that has taught me how to say NO?

I took some time to write down my highest values. I then began to imagine those values were some thick-necked, muscle-bound doorman you might find at an expensive, exclusive condo building. You know, the guy with the nice suit, headset, and permanent scowl. I imagined I gave him a list of things that he could allow past to see me. This list was my values. Anything that did not support my values or move me toward them, he refused entry. The things that came into my life that were in line with my values would be granted access.

(Click here to find out more about the doorman principle)

Okay, I get that as I write and re-read this, it sounds a little simplistic. But I have to say, it has been the most profound change in my time management skills that I have ever experienced in my life.

I have changed from being a people-pleasing “YES” man to someone who can (and routinely does) say NO to things that are not in my highest value list. And with this change has come so much FREEDOM!

So here are my suggestions. Take some time to think about and write down your core values. Then make some rules around the decisions you make about spending your time. In your mind’s eye, give that list to your virtual “door man”. This guy will be your “NO-saying bruiser”! He is the bad guy. Not you. Then get comfortable politely saying no to anything doesn’t make your list. Simple!

Being close to 50, I realize that I am around half way (or so) through this life. There are a finite number of days and hours left in my quota. I don’t want to spend a minute doing the stuff that I don’t value. Neither should you

PS If you want to find out more about the doorman principle and learn specific steps to implement this system into your life, join us for our next Think By Design workshop on Tuesday April 11th at 6:30 pm at Elevate Chiropractic and when I will show you how.   You can book with Karen at the front desk or click here to register.

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