Quick Quiz. Which of the following three scenarios best describes you at this very moment?
Full Tank: You stop working at an appropriate hour having checked all your to-do boxes. Immediately following, you take time out to exercise, eat healthy, spend time in nature, and talk to your loved ones lovingly. When you notice the toilet paper roll is empty you gracefully replace it with a smile.
If any of you are saying, “yeah, this is me” stop reading and float down to write my next article. You’re obviously an angel because you’re not living here on earth.
Half-a-Tank: You stop working only an hour later than planned trying to figure out what you really accomplished today. When you walk into your home or out of your home-office, you immediately get bombarded at the door with other people’s needs. “I’m hungry. What’s for dinner?” You throw some baby carrots and Ranch dressing at the kids before you finally break away for two minutes of alone time.
While in the restroom you glance at the magazine article you started days ago, and feel your blood boil as another “expert” is suggesting you relax at a spa. You seriously consider hunting this person down and giving them a spa moment they’ll never forget! How the heck are you suppose to afford a spa day when you have credit card debt up the wazoo, a cell phone being held together with duct tape thanks to letting your youngest play with it for a moment of peace, and a to-do list that never ends?
You glance down and scream, “Can’t anyone else in this house change the roll of toilet paper?”
Empty Tank: You work out of your home, so technically never leave work or go to the bathroom. In fact, you’re still wearing the sweats you slept in. Your to-do list is a collection of yellow stickies some so old they no longer stick. Your 6-yr old turns to you, after inserting another box into the microwave and asks, “Did you get my poster board?” Even though you don’t want to be caught around town with sweats, no bra, and no makeup, you’re off to Target since Amazon doesn’t offer posterboard delivery in 4 hours. You justify that people will think you have just been to the gym. Your dinner? A glass of wine and an overpriced box of Girl Scout thin mints will have to do. Plus the little girl outside of Target reminds you of when you earned the cookie badges every year. Overachievers start early. Aw heck, buy 2 boxes. . .. and an extra bottle of wine. You can’t wait any longer and find yourself in the bathroom at Target. And of course you chose the stall without any toilet paper……which reminds you to buy a few rolls as you drip dry.
If any of you could relate, it’s time to fuel up with my tips below. Yes, I know the price may seem high at the moment, but it’s better to pay now than pay later. Just like at the gas pumps, the price only goes up.
Tip #1 Speak your truth to YOURSELF
All joking aside, you can’t do everything, nor be everything to everyone without becoming a Looney Tune. You’re never going to cross out everything on that darn list! We read the same old stuff about taking care of ourselves, but we don’t change a thing. My spin?
Speak your truth! Speak your truth to others, but most importantly to yourself. That’s how balance begins. That’s how it all starts. Just like any other muscle in the body, our truth muscle needs training, strengthening, and coaching. Read on.
Tip #2 Say NO to others to say Yes to you
Are you saying yes to everyone but yourself? Speak your truth – of course, too many of you are. You’re saying to others: “Of course I can help! No problem. Sure, what do you need? “I’ll get on it right away.”
Worse yet you offer to help people that didn’t even ask:
“Why don’t I (insert helpful suggestion here).” You hang up the phone feeling full. Two minutes later, you’re drained when you realize what you just did. You can’t have balance without boundaries. Sometimes you need to disappoint someone else in order to be true to yourself. That’s part of life.
We teach others how to treat us. And you are teaching your company, your boss, your kids, and your family you will keep taking on more and more responsibility to make their life easier. By saying yes to everyone else you are saying no to yourself. It’s time to speak your truth.
No’s to Self:
Start slowly. Start with Self-no’s and to people in the office that are not your boss. This will build your confidence, phraseology, and strengthen your Speak Your Truth muscle.
Rather than “I’m going to just get this one more thing done before I leave the office/relax/go to bed” say “Self, you’ve put in a full day. Stop. Breathe. Let it go. Tomorrow’s another day.”
Rather than, “I’ll just do this because I’ll get it done more quickly” say, “Who can I delegate this to so they can grow or learn? And I can learn to be grateful for the help, even if it doesn’t resemble MY way of doing the task.” No one to delegate to? See above, “Self, you’ve put in a full day…..”
No’s to Colleagues:
Rather than, “I’m sorry, blah, blah, blah,” say,
“I’d love to talk more, yet I’m on a deadline. Can we touch base next week?”
“I need to run this project/assignment by my calendar/manager/team to ensure there are no priority conflicts and will follow up.”
“I have a few projects to complete. Perhaps in a few weeks we can touch base again.”
“Try (name). They have a wealth of experience with that.”
“No, I am unable to attend this year. My plate is full of other commitments. Thanks for asking.”
“How fabulous your daughter is a girl scout! As I’ve already eaten my share of thin mints, I’ll choose to pass.”
Already speaking your truth and saying no? Still running on an empty tank? You may not like to hear this, but the truth is you’re never going to get it all done. It’s coming at us WAY too fast so get real about how much you really can accomplish in a day. Accepting this reality will help us accept ourselves more readily. And perhaps even others as we sit down to another empty roll of toilet paper.
Those sentences are great. Do you recommend any books that are similar to that concept? A way to word things other than just ‘No?’
Thanks, Ashley. I’d recommend my own book when it eventually hits the press! Keep in mind you can just substitute the situation in the sentences above to make it work for your concern. And depending on who you are responding to, “No” is a complete sentence :-).
Check out some of my other articles on the website — you may find some tips there. I also have a post on how to use assertive language to DEAL with tricky situations and still ask for what you want.
If you like the DEAL approach, you may want to listen to my “Truth About Communication” audio cd which is all about asking for what you want with grace. How to get what you want without ticking anybody off! Continued success and keep speaking your truth.
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