You know that classic interview question: What’s your biggest weakness? I know mine. I don’t know when to say NO. I’m a driven, ambitious person, and I have a serious case of FOMO. When I see an opportunity, I snap it up (personally or professionally) and I deal with potential consequences later. Sometimes I take advantage of opportunities at the expense of sleep, my health, time I could spend working out or reading, for instance. Other times, less often, I’m sacrificing times with friends or family. And on occasion, I say “yes” and agree to dedicate time to something that is taking me away from advancing my career.
So it seems everything, and nothing, is a priority to me. I am spread thin. I’m pulled in a dozen different directions and it’s all my own doing.
- “Yes, I’ll volunteer at school.”
- “Yes, I’ll take on that project at work.”
- “Want to join us at this fundraiser? You betcha.”
- “Yes, I’ll attend that event.”
- “Sure, I’ll write that for you.”
- “Of course, I can be there. RSVP: Yes.”
- “Why not? Let’s arrange for that play date.”
- “I’ll get right on that.”
I’m a yes man.
They say the first step in correcting a problem is recognizing that you have one. Check. I’m currently juggling a job, parenting two young daughters, and “glorified hobby” as I put it, my food blog, weekly radio gig, and book-in-progress don’t pay me, but I love them. They’re time consuming, but I can’t pull myself away from any of it because I believe in my heart that someday all this “brand building” I’ve been doing, will be worth it.
So, when to say when? That is a question I ask myself nearly every day, as I try not to let myself down…or my husband, or my kids, or my bosses and co-workers, or my friends. I lean on extended family for babysitting, so when I say “yes” to an event I want to blog about, I don’t feel so bad about leaving my kids. I’m working on strategic trades and partnerships with my social content to compensate for time I’m spending on it. I schedule interviews for my book for the one day a week that I am off and my kids are in school. I even do some of my blog writing, with two thumbs, on my iPhone while on the elliptical (or in line at a store) to make best use of every minute.
And I wonder why I can’t sleep? My mind never rests. Like ever. So I am writing this today, not because I have all the answers. But because I need some. How, and when do you say “No?”
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What works for this mama of three is asking: will this bring me joy? Will it create memories for my kiddos? Is it an opp for me to reconnect or refuel as a mom? Does it enhance my career as a writer? ‘Yes’ doesn’t bring joy but ‘no’ can allow you to slow down and actually enjoy the moment.