I said no to a great opportunity a few weeks ago. It was an opportunity that would have allowed me to teach and share my message directly to those I love to help and guide: women and men in their 20s and 30s who are in transition, searching, and growing and who want to make the right career and relationship choices for themselves and their future.
Even though I had been waiting for an opportunity like this for a long time, and even though I was really excited about it, I chose to say no. I really wanted to say yes, and at first, I even did. “Thank you so much. I am honored. I am tentatively saying yes, and will confirm with you early next week,” is what I said to the director of a post-graduate program who had asked me to come and address his students. I really wanted to say yes, and so, I gave myself the extra time.
And when I thought about it long and hard, I realized that saying yes to speak at the time they had offered was not a good time for me. I am thankfully very busy with a rich home and work life. Agreeing to speak at a time that I allot for myself and my family, felt more draining than it did fulfilling. I came to the conclusion that saying yes to this opportunity would be me saying ‘no’ to me and my family. And it would be a ‘yes’ that would have put us in minus.
I called the director when I said I would and told him about my choice. He protested and offered to compensate me more for my time to make the talk a possibility for me. This was a test, I thought, but I was prepared. I was already clear about what I was saying yes to and what I was saying no to. I politely and respectfully declined and thanked him again. I told him the times that do work better for me to come out and speak, but he was not interested. It would not work well for him or the students.
After I hung up the phone I naturally felt a tinge of regret. ‘Perhaps this was a lost opportunity,’ I wondered. But I don’t believe in that. I believe that when it is right, another opportunity will present itself again. I also know that while I am not sure whether or not taking the opportunity to speak would have led to more opportunities, what I am sure about is that saying yes to that opportunity would have a negative physical impact on me, which would also have negatively impacted my family. This experience served as an example to me that I am clear of what is most important to me, which is why, although a bit hard at first, I was not afraid to say no.
What are the lessons then that I am sharing with you about my experience?
- Don’t be afraid to say no, especially if ‘no’ is the answer that feels most right to you. Trust your intuition and trust that you know what is good for you. Believe that another opportunity will present itself when the timing is right for you. In fact, saying ‘yes’ to something you know in your gut you really want to say ‘no’ to (be it work or relationship related), might very well drain you in the long run, leaving you drained and potentially too exhausted and hopeless for when the right opportunity does present itself.
- Be clear on what is most important to you. Get clear on your values and boundaries. Until you are super clear on what that is for you, you will be confused and be susceptible to other people’s opinions about what they think you should do. This will make it very hard for you to make a decision that you feel good about (and not doubt or regret.)
- Listen to yourself. When I say listen, I am not only referring to the words or thoughts in your head. I mean really listen to yourself. Listen to your body and be in touch with what message it is sending you. Our mind tends to play tricks on us, but as one dance therapist once imparted to me, our bodies do not lie. Our bodies are harder to trick. Use your body as a reference for helping you to figure out what feels most right for you.
As always, be in touch anytime with your questions or comments. Comment below or message me privately at Jenny@unleashingu.com.
In support and admiration,
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