Growth is hard. In fact lots of things are hard. Especially giving up an image that you have worked so hard to portray, once you realize it is exactly that, an image. Oh and also that it is too much work to haul that image around and put it on and take it off. Confession time, I like accomplishing things. There was a time in my life when a neat to-do list with perfectly lined up check marks brought a tear to my eye. (Sob) Sorry I need a minute. I am now trying to focus on being present and accepting the imperfect and sadly the sometimes incomplete aspects of life.
When you are trying to change the universal law is that you will be given plenty of opportunities. Right now my opportunity cup runneth over. I am in the middle of managing a drought, which means increased workload and my best employee has taken another job. Normally, I would assume Wonder Woman posture lasso of truth at my side and personal life, goals and relationships fading behind me. Also as you can well imagine, I would be delightful to be around.
Something is different this time, after much research I figured it out…drumroll please, me. Turns out if you react differently and make saner choices and stop trying to navigate in an imaginary invisible jet things are different. I just finished reading this book on the 7 essential coaching questions so I can be a better manager. Ironically, I found a question that I not only shared with my remaining staff, but I am using it to coach myself. “What do I have to say no to if I say yes to this?” What a concept. It sounds like nirvana, right? Except that I am not great at saying no. In fact you might say I suck at it. I am really attached to that whole Wonder Woman thing. You know when you walk out of a meeting and hear them say “I don’t know how she does all of those things and still runs this project.” I am not going to sugar coat it. Letting that go is hard. Using the idea of what I have to say no to in order to say yes to something is helping me stick to my priorities. Meditation has helped to, because now I find when I am asked to do something, I can consciously find a little space by taking a breath before responding “yes” as quickly as your leg jumps when the Dr. hits your knee with rubber hammer. It helps.
All of these little things add up. The other thing I am trying to do is be present and conscious of the benefits I notice after I have said “no.” For example a week ago I had all of these things scheduled and someone asked me to meet for dinner with a colleague from out-of-town. I said no after many breaths. The night of the dinner as I enjoyed a quiet evening of healthy food and conversation with my husband at home, I took time in that moment to experience it and fully realize the gain of saying no was so much greater than if I had said yes and less stressful. Regret can really take it out of you.
I am by no means the girl who says “no.” I am working on it and I am all the calmer as I wade into the temporarily choppy waters of chaos. And me without my to do list!