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Saying YES to another is easy. So easy most of us need to learn how to say NO. We say YES to others even knowing it will be extremely difficult (if not impossible) to meet the expectations. Think about an emergency at work. Nothing serious. How easy is it to skip all other responsibilities and just go for it? Most of us will say YES.
But when it comes to ourselves it’s the other way around. Unless there is a real emergency, we tend to say NO or at least say WAIT. But why? When you think about it, it’s not logic, is it? Why is choosing for yourself so difficult? Are we harming other people doing it? Or just harming ourselves not doing it?
As an executive Coach, I meet a lot of people who are juggling (not to say struggling) work and life. And I am sure you know lots of them too. Or maybe you are juggling / struggling yourself? Not enough hours in one day, let alone days in one week or even weeks in a year. Recognize this? Is your time flying and are you running after it?
Back to the one million dollar question. Why can’t we say YES to ourselves more often? And what do we need to be able to say YES? More time? I am sorry to disappoint you. More time isn’t an option. And need I remind you sleep is important? So forget the sleep-hacking and keep on reading.
Below you’ll find 3 tips on how to say YES to yourself, even with your busy schedule. It may not offer you “the” solution. But it may start some thinking processes.
1. Go from being driven by your agenda to driving your agenda
There are several proven time management techniques, tips and tricks on delegating, delaying or even dropping some of your to do’s. But experience taught us most of us won’t even use them until we first learn how to say YES to ourselves. So maybe it’s time to write your personal Mission Statement?
When your own long-term goals are clear, you will be able to set your short-term goals a lot easier and align the priorities that come with it. When scheduling your agenda, ask yourself “does doing this contribute to my personal goals in work and life?” If the answer is NO, you’ll know what to do. But even when it does contribute, know that multitasking isn’t always the best-performing solution and people CAN wait.
When your assistant is handling your calendar, you can set up rules for filling it and evaluate together on a regular basis. But stay in control. After all, it is your life. I’ve seen many people working a lot more efficient after taking this hurdle. With more overview and more peace of mind.
2. Ask yourself what makes you happy, unplug and recharge
When defining your personal Mission Statement, you identify what’s important to you. And in fact, now it’s only a matter of making it happen. Think about what makes you smile, or when you lost track of time lately. Chances are you’ll find your true passion in these answers. But even if your biggest passion lies in your ambition at work, it’s still important to put some private time on your schedule. And unplug.
To be honest, this is also my biggest struggle. My family believes I’m married to my iPhone or at least addicted to it. How many of you are taking the phone to the smallest room? No need answering this question below but I guess we’d be surprised ;-)
To be able to fully recharge, we need to avoid loose ends. So seek closure after a time slot of working hard and allow yourself, your body and mind, to relax. We all know it doesn’t work the other way around. You focus on work. Don’t forget to focus on recharging in between.
3. Nobody’s perfect
I am sure you’re thinking “this sounds so easy”. But then why is it so difficult? Why do I feel guilty making my own priorities a priority?
I believe the answer to this question lies deep within ourselves. I have written about survival strategy more than once before. I believe breaking the pattern of behaviour we have been using for our survival for many years is important to be the best version of yourself, to yourself.
Not only doing it, saying YES to yourself, but to feel good about it. Without guilt. Without fear. And it’s easy to say “forgive yourself and nobody’s perfect”. Nobody told you this was going to be the hardest part of it all when you went to college.
But the funny thing is, when you are able to break that vicious circle of behaviour that keeps you away from being really you, you won’t be the only one benefitting from it!
It’s not about changing who you are. It’s about finding yourself.
Enjoy the ride!
Sofie Varrewaere is the founder of BigFish4.me. After studying a Master in Psychological and Pedagogical Sciences, she ogled into the magical world of Recruitment, Selection and HR Services. Working for the world leader in HR, she has always been in an advisory role in relation to the larger goals of several multinational organizations. In 2013 she started her own company in International executive Coaching. Doing what she is good at, challenging others as well as herself.