When you aren’t clear on what you want it is so easy to fall into a pattern of responding to everyone else’s “emergencies” and feel like you’re spinning your wheels getting nowhere.
Your values and priorities are unique to you, so stop living by someone else’s priorities.
Oftentimes we stress ourselves out by overfilling our plate
When we are not absolutely clear on what we want, it is easy to overfill our plate. We either overfill it trying to figure out what we want, or trying to please others.
When you are clear on what you want it is easier to say no to what doesn’t align with that
I get it. You don’t want to disappoint anyone and you are afraid saying no will disappoint them. But if someone offered you a mint, and you didn’t feel like a mint and said, “No thanks”, would you expect them to be mad at you?
Here are a few ways to tell people no politely without lying:
I’m sorry, I wish I could, but I’m completely booked.
I learned this in a training session over 15 years ago, but I don’t remember who was giving the training. Just know that I didn’t invent this clever phrase.
“While my heart wants to say “Yes!”, the reality of what’s on my plate makes this a “no” for me. Thanks for thinking of me” – @heyamberrae (Instagram)
This is a much sweeter version of the first one. But both work just fine.
You don’t need to have meetings with Warren Buffet scheduled to feel worthy of using this sentence. When you design your schedule around your values and priorities this will always be the truth if you need to decline an offer or ask from someone. You’ve simply already filled up your schedule with your own priorities.
Overcommitting serves no one, including the person you are trying to help out. Let’s face it if you are stretched to thin you are not going to be giving them your best anyway. Give someone else who has the time the opportunity to shine at whatever task they were asked to help with.
When you are clear on what you want life seems to flow a bit easier
Have you ever noticed that? I think sometimes we all go through this ebb and flow in life. Sometimes we know exactly what we want and sometimes we don’t and just kinda wander.
For me, I’ve found it is easier to roll with the punches when I know I want and what is important to me. I think this is because everything else that isn’t related to your values and priorities isn’t that important – so you don’t freak out over it.
Your values and priorities shift, and that is okay
As we grow, our values and priorities will shift. Sometimes it is hard to recognize when that shift happens and we end up in a weird funk.
We either try and cling hard to what we used to want, but no longer want, and feel like we should want. Or we feel depressed and lost because we feel like we lost our compass. Don’t fret – it is just a phase and totally normal.
If you are currently in this phase, all you need to do is some self-reflection…aka ask yourself some questions over and over for the next couple of weeks. It is okay if the answer doesn’t come right away – it will. Just keep asking yourself clarifying questions.
Self-reflective questions to figure out your values and priorities:
When have I been happier than a dog on a walk? What was I doing?
What makes me smile – the kinda just watched a baby elephant chasing birds kinda smile?
What makes me laugh so hard I pee, just a little?
If I got a free surprise day off and had zero obligations to anyone, who is the first person(people) I would call to hang out with?
Who makes me laugh so hard I pee, just a little?
If the zombie apocalypse arrived and I only had 10 days to share my gifts with the world, what would they be (aside from Twinkie hunting and double-tapping of course)?
It is important to focus on what is important to you – because all that other “busy work” is just unnecessary fillers that could be spent on what truly matters.
Did you find this useful? Don’t keep it a secret. I would love it if you would share it with a friend, colleague or loved one. It is the biggest compliment you can give me.