Yes Stress: Say NO Sometimes to Reduce Stress and More
©2015 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.
What is Yes Stress?
Do you have Yes Stress? That’s when you’ve said “yes” so much to so many that you are overcommitted and having trouble delivering. And you’re not having any fun doing any of the things you’ve committed to because you’re in such a time squeeze. And you feel guilty, which makes you feel heavy and colors all your energies dark. And your creativity is not flowing, which means the tasks are not coming from inspiration, and each is taking more time.
What a rip-off to your inner genius! Maybe, by now, your week is so packed that you can’t even schedule a workout, and you feel bad taking time to do laundry or go for groceries.
If you keep this up for months or years, you will be stressed, sick, and without a life. Yuck! This is not how you were meant to live. Warren Buffett, one of the most successful businessmen of our time, said, “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.”
You have a right to say “no.”
So, let’s consider the total opposite of “yes,” which is obviously “no.” You have a right to shape your life. You have a right to your unique path. You have the right to choose what you’re spending your time and energy on, by saying “yes” and saying “no.” In each week, you have 7 x 24 hours, or 168 hours, in which to shape your life and pursue your unique path. Take out about 56 hours for sleeping and showering, and you still have more than 100 hours per week in which to be you. [See my recent article on the 5 Laws of Time Management for Writers.]
Not every situation is clear cut.
Life’s opportunities to say “yes” or “no” are not just on a menu where you neatly check your choices each morning. Sometimes a boss asks you to take on a project, and no one knows how much time it will take. Ask the boss how much time you might be spending on it and ask if you can sleep on it.
Perhaps an organization asks you to serve on their Board of Directors. If you’re interested in that group’s work, ask how much time it takes to serve on the Board and ask if you can sleep on it and let them know. If you are not very interested, there is a very kind way to say “no.” Tell them you are honored to be asked, but your schedule is so full that it just wouldn’t be fair to your loved ones to take on a Board position at this time. If they really push, repeat that, and add, “However, I hope you’ll think of me next year.” Chances are good that they will completely forget next year, and the transaction is softened for now. You have given them a soft “no.”
Negotiating can turn “no” into “yes.”
Sometimes the “no” you need is simply negotiating a deadline, so, it’s only “no” to the first timeline a client requests. Would you love to edit that new novel for a favorite client, but you can’t comfortably finish it this month? Knowing you have the subsequent two weeks free, you can tell the client the truth: you would love to edit that new novel for them and you will be able to give it your full attention at the start of next month. Then, you can get it done in 10 days. Generally that will be fine, assuming you are known to be true to your word. If not, is there something due before the end of this month that you can flip with the new project? Ask another client, graciously, since a special project has come up, if they would consider moving your delivery date for them to X point next month so you can complete the urgent project this month.
You are the only one who can be you.
Saying “yes” to the wrong people and activities will leave you tense and tired. If anyone asks you to do something you’re uncomfortable with, quickly and sweetly tell them you’re just too busy. With practice, you can learn to pleasantly say with a smile, “Oh, that wouldn’t be my thing,” or “Bars just aren’t for me.” Then exit the scene to eliminate further urging that you say “yes.” The surer you are of what does and does not work for you, the more comfortable you will be saying “no” kindly, and the more easily people will accept your “no.” After all, you are the only one who can live your life – the only person on the planet who can be you. Practice your preferences to make the most of your time and energy, and soon you will have eliminated your Yes Stress!
Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert and author of the award-winning book, Discover the Secret Energized You, as well as the 2013 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core, Second Edition. Her newest book, Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine, is available through her office. Just email SacredMeditation@kebba.com for more info. Like this article? Buy Kebba’s books by clicking the links! Reach the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org.