A Thousand Times Yes
“Yeah, of course I can do that! It won’t be a problem.”
But I was wrong. It was a problem.
For a long time I’ve struggled with saying no. Not just in my personal life, but in my professional life as well.
I’ve found myself taking on more and more projects and stressing out as my work pile gets higher and higher.
The truth is, I hate saying no.
I hate admitting that there are things that I just can’t do, and I hate feeling like I’ve disappointed someone.
The funny thing is, I also hate trying new things, or doing things that I don’t feel confident about. Despite being afraid of trying new things, I’ve found that I’m even more afraid of refusing to try. Saying no to new things (whether I have justifiable reasons or not) makes me feel like a coward—like I’m letting fear stop me from growing as a person.
So, instead of saying no because of fear, I say yes because of pride.
The Joy of Yes
When I say yes, there’s a moment where the person I said yes to lights up. They look happy or relieved. In that moment, all fear and anxiety I had about saying yes disappears, replaced with a burst of pride and self righteousness.
I made that person happy. I saved the day. I look good in their eyes now.
That tiny moment of pride quickly fades when I start the task I said I’d complete only to realize that I was hasty in accepting it.
Lessons From Sales
Last year I worked in sales, and I had to book appointments with clients. Since I was also attending trade school and had other responsibilities, I had to book appointments around my super busy schedule.
I’d tell clients dates and times that worked for me, but oftentimes they’d ask for a different option—one that really didn’t work for me.
So of course I told them that their chosen date and time was totally fine and I’d speak with them later.
My schedule was booked back to back or even double-booked for a while thanks to my unwillingness to be honest with myself, and I suffered all the consequences that came with it.
Ultimately, I experienced the worst period of burnout that I’ve ever had.
The Impossible Answer
It took a while, but now I’m learning that saying yes to everything is not only unwise, but impossible.
In my personal relationships, saying yes to everything has led to bitterness and resentment—from me—toward the people I said yes to. In the midst of my stress and discomfort, I’ve blamed other people for the choices I made myself—and that’s not fair.
In my professional life, saying yes to everything has led to burnout, plenty of stress, and poor-quality work.
Saying yes does not make me more reliable, it makes me more unreliable. The more opportunities I accept and projects I take on, the more stressed I get. The more stressed I get, the more likely I am to procrastinate or experience burnout.
That doesn’t make saying no any easier, but it does help me think twice before I tell someone I’ll definitely be able to do something for them.
My goal for the rest of 2023 is to figure out what “realistic expectations” really are for me as I navigate personal relationships and step deeper into the professional world.
Before You Go…
What are your goals for the rest of 2023?
Let me know in the comments!
Read last week’s blog here!