Sometimes saying "no" can be harder than saying "yes".
Why is it that we find it so hard to give in to our gut feeling at times? Find it so hard to say "no thanks", or "No, sorry I can't help"? Many of us end up wearing ourselves down, spreading ourselves like butter so finely all over everything - just because we are trying to please others (or maybe it is please ourselves?) It's just not healthy. Are we better to put ourselves whole heartedly into a few tasks, rather than half heartedly into many. Not because we choose to be half hearted, but because physically we actually can't give any more!
My whole life (well since my teens) I feel like I have been chasing something. I have no idea what this 'thing' is that I have been chasing. Is it my pride? Is it proof that I can be something 'worthy'? Is it to prove I can be intelligent and make something of myself? Is it a desire to make money? I have no idea, because I can't quite pin point it.
Being the eldest child of 3, in a solo parent upbringing, and being an Aries - I was always the one keeping everyone in line (some may have described me as just plain bossy!) a right little second mother to my poor younger brothers! Being a Mother now, I fear my own Mother may have been driven up the walls a few times purely because I was bossing everyone around. (However, we wont dwell on that, as of course, I am an angel now)
I was short at high school, I was always trying to grow taller, grow boobs, be one of the first to kiss a boy, first in running races, first in sport, first to get my license. Not because I am overly competitive, but purely because I just wanted it to be done. It's almost like it was a drug, and I was addicted to the "next phase", addicted to challenges (not necessarily scholarly ones, but challenges all the same). I started university at the age of 17, graduating at 20, I headed off on my O.E at 21 and snagged a man to marry at the ripe old age of 24. Always dreaming of an evening setting in a beautiful house with wonderful friends that I could cook for and we could laugh together. I mean, what was that? I should have been dreaming of skinny dipping in the Greek Islands (needless to say, I had already ticked that one off the list. Ahem, sorry Mum!) or I should have just been enjoying each day more for what it was?
There I was anyway - always thinking ahead, working out business schemes and lifestyle dreams. Sure I was having fun at the same time, I couldn't say I have had a dull day in my life BUT why was I never just content and happy in the moment?
I bought a house at 24, I had my first child at 25...and so the story goes, 3 great businesses, 2 children, gaining another qualification and the completion of building a house I was staring down the barrel of "what shall I do next?"
So, Yesterday I made one of the biggest decisions in a while...
An amazing opportunity was basically handed to me on a plate. There was going to be so much hard work involved in getting it up and running - but I love that stuff, as you have read, I thrive on getting something moving! I like to be challenged. This time however, I was a bit tentative as I knew it would pull me out of my family time and into more work time (a work that I wanted to be involved in none the less) it would be demanding, time consuming, insanely rewarding and insanely awesome, BUT something inside of me seems to have grown up. I was hesitating and trying to work out why I was hesitating to take this opportunity by the horns and build another awesome business. I started to ask myself what is it in life that I am now after. What would I say as a Health coach to a client of mine in the same situation?
I decided I would give myself 2 days to hurry up and decide. I had put a lot of time and effort had into this project already and my heart was becoming rapidly attached. So, 2 sleepless nights and 15km run later, I still had no answer. "What would you say to a client Jess?"
This then gave me my answer. I had to make the call, and the answer needed to be "No, this just isn't what I need in my life right now".
I tell you what...It is about a million times harder for a woman who is driven to actually say "No", than it is to say "Yes". I know I am speaking to so many of you out there who are the same. It's like you see your life without responsibilities (ahem.kids) down one lane and then you see your real life down the other lane. You can choose to mesh the two, as I currently am and have found balance in my 'work' and 'family life', and am a lot closer than I ever have been to managing to find some 'play' in there as well.
As I told my soon-to-be-business partner that I just couldn't dedicate myself to the project enough, she was totally cool and understood. I felt terrible to her, like I was letting her down, I was ridden with guilt and self anger and suffered a few heart palpitations as I realised I had just chosen to wander down the Lane of responsibilities.
I had just chosen my children over my career. I never ever ever thought that would happen to me. I was determined to be able to mix it all, to be Jess the warrior in all aspects of life, yet, it's turning out that maybe I am finally growing up and not having to chase everything anymore. Being content may just work for me for the next few precious years while my sons still want to hang out with me. I'm proud of myself for saying "No" It was so much harder than saying "Yes"! It will also be hard to watch the project go ahead without me, but I feel humble and excited for the people who will be taking it over and I am happy with the decision I made.
So, after making the call to walk away from this amazing project, today - I have ridden a bike with my youngest (yes me on my bike too, not me taking him to a bike park to bike while I checked up on emails on my phone) I read him a new story, I was parent help at school, I swam with each child today while the other one had their swimming lesson, I cooked a beautiful (maybe biased) meal for my family and I started to help my eldest write the book he has been asking me to help him write for months. Today I think I finally found my success. I was chasing something that wasn't going to satisfy me - sure it would be great, but it turns out that what I needed was right in front of me.
So be it just saying "no" as a once off to helping a friend, or saying "no" to making it out to dinner because you are exhausted, or just saying "no" when you feel obliged but exhausted at the thought of saying "Yes" - remember, sometimes it is okay to say "Sorry, today it's a no".
Sure, I still have to work. I will still get up at 6am to finish my work or to exercise because I still need to say "yes" to some work opportunities (and I still need to earn some cold hard ones!) If i do it that way then I can still hangout with my family when they are awake. How about you?
Taking a step back from life for a minute and working out what I really needed to be spending some more time on, in or with was the best thing I ever did!
Life is so short. On that note, I better fly, I'm off to play Lego.