Posts Tagged ‘life’

The power of saying no

There are plenty of reasons to say no in life. Some of them are much more important than the reason I said no last week.

Or maybe not.

I decided to drop out of the National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) challenge. I just said no to blogging every single day. I’m going back to my schedule of three days a week. (In my previous post‎, I was already debating this.)

Skipping my first day wasn’t easy. I am not a person who backs out of a commitment, even to myself. Which is why my saying no to this is more important than it might seem.

I struggled a bit against letting that first day go by. But once it did, I felt unshackled. I felt lighter.

Even more important, the writing I’ve done since has just flowed out of me. I’m inspired, I’m having fun, I’m writing things I feel good about.

Saying no is liberating.

The power of saying no

This is not a new idea. We all know that saying no is a way of expressing our freedom, our independence. It’s a way of asserting ourselves. I’m just not always very good at it.

I don’t say no easily. I take on everything that interests me — and everything I’m asked to do — and damn the consequences. But that’s not always a healthy decision for anyone, especially myself.

Saying no is empowering.

Instead of being forced to write something every day, just for the sake of writing something, I have the luxury of taking my time. I can write the terrible first draft and come back to it later and edit it so it’s not terrible anymore. I can let things incubate. I can polish and play. I can have fun. I can express myself clearly and creatively.

It’s not just a writing lesson, though. It’s a life lesson.

As I was pondering dropping out of NaBloPoMo, one of my biggest clients called with a rush assignment on a project I’m the exclusive writer on. I said I didn’t think I could pull it off. I didn’t want to overpromise and underdeliver. Could she find another writer to handle one part of the crisis while I helped with another? She agreed that was a good strategy.

There’s a time I would have said yes to the entire project. But instead, I found the voice to say no. It was the right thing to say for everyone involved.

Can we say no to everything in life? No, and we shouldn’t. Sometimes we say yes because it’s polite, or it’s business, or it’s just the thing to do. Saying yes can also open unexpected doors, even if we’ve been standing there pulling against the doorknob trying to keep it shut.

But should we say no to some things? Yes. And I’m getting pretty good at it, if I do say so myself.

Changing directions

Change is constant. This isn’t news. Neither is the fact that most of us resist change at some point, even when we know it will be good for us.

We struggle against change because it’s uncomfortable. We have to leave our established patterns and notions behind to embrace something new. That’s scary. But it can also be exhilarating.

When we make a change — personal, professional, ideological — we don’t know for sure if the outcome will be good or bad. Of course, we hope it will be good. But even if it isn’t, it’s something new. It changes our direction and our mindset. The initial change we make may not be life-altering. It might even be awful for a while. But, in the end, it can take us somewhere completely different. Somewhere we never would have gone if we hadn’t made a change. 

And even making the smallest change is more powerful than just standing still.

Confessions of a Procrastinator: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying + Love the Blog

The moment my web design team said, “Your website absolutely has to have a blog,” I knew this would happen: I’d struggle to keep up with a regular schedule of blog posts.

It’s not that I can’t keep to a schedule. That’s something I do very well, every day. But keeping up with a daily or even semi-regular blog seemed daunting. When would I find time? There are plenty of subjects that interest me, but would they be of value to anyone else?

Not to mention that I am a procrastinator. Not about the things that matter. Give me a deadline and I’ll meet it. But without a deadline, I’m sunk.

So although I won’t promise to blog every day, I am going to set aside a few minutes every day to write, just for me. Hopefully what I write will have merit for this blog. Some of it may not. But sharing my opinions and expertise on writing, communications, creativity and life in general will be another way to flex my writing muscles and, I hope, result in content that will appeal to others.

I’ll have the chance to ponder topics during some time off I’ve scheduled. My blog is a new exploration and I’m excited about digging deeper.

Right after my vacation.