One of the loveliest, most capable clients I have heaved sobs of shame and dejection on our last call. For some time now, she had neglected her commitments to herself, her business and yes–to her coach, simply because she was incapable of saying ‘no’ to clients, friends and family. To put her needs and wants ahead of those she loved and served seemed an almost insurmountable barrier to her. Here are some tips to help those who are feeling like her:
1. Understand your own motivations.
If you are in the pattern of giving in to every demand in spite of the resulting burden, it may be a good idea to work with a coach or someone who can help you achieve a better balance.
2. Calculate the true cost of your burdens.
Make a list of the recent instances when you agreed to something that took you away from your main priorities. Now add up the time cost. Not just the time you spent away from your priorities, but the emotional time cost as well. What might you have achieved if all of this time was put toward something more productive? Imagine the possibilities!
3. Create a reminder.
This could be a note that says, “Don’t give in!” or, if the meeting is in person, it might be a bracelet, ring, or a red pen; something that you don’t usually carry or wear.
My 3 year old’s new daycare informed us that they no longer subscribe to the ‘naughty corner’ punishment but instead use the ‘redirect’ method. I’d heard of this from Ken Blanchard‘s Whale Done book but hadn’t ever seen it applied. This is where when someone does something they’re not supposed to, you redirect their attention to something else that they can be doing. I have used the ‘redirect’ approach when saying ‘no’ in the past. This involved telling the ‘asker’ what else you’ve gotta do instead, suggesting another resource that could help other than you, giving them a timeline of your other priorities and when you can complete their ask etc. There are many ways to ‘redirect’ if you are willing.
I urge you and all my wonderful clients to ‘redirect’ and heed the above tips because life is supposed to be fun, remember?
- You always have a choice – the power of reframing (leaderchat.org)
- 3 Tricks to Doing More in Less Time (coachtactics.com)
- Why are managers and supervisors so stingy with praise? (leaderchat.org)