One of my favorite teachers and guides is Cheryl Richardson. Cheryl has written a bunch of best-selling books and often appears as life coach extraordinaire on Oprah.
In her fantastic book called The Art of Extreme Self-Care, Cheryl conveys the following truth: “If your life is chaotic, your schedule is overcrowded, and your brain is too full to think straight, the key to reclaiming your life has a lot more to do with what you remove from your life than how you organize it.” Cheryl goes on to say that people need to remove at least 30 percent of what they have on their plates just to get started.
Wow. I love how she tells it like it is. As women, we often say YES to way TOO many things … and don’t admit when things just aren’t working for us anymore. “Am I being to picky?” “Am I being mean?” “Am I expecting too much?” “Will so-and-so hate me if I don’t go along with this?” These are some of the thoughts that race through our minds when we want to say no to things, but aren’t sure we’re “allowed” to.
In the spirit of my monthly theme of managing energy, not time, I’ve taken Cheryl’s sage advice and created an ABSOLUTE NO list (many of my NOs are inspired by her list). Here goes:
I No Longer …
• Jump out of bed in the morning. I give myself the time and space I need to start the day in a serene and relaxed state.
• Live without pets. I love my kitties!
• Compromise my needs to keep peace with anyone.
• Use my credit cards unless I can pay them off in full at the end of the month.
• Keep anything in my home that I don’t love or need.
• Deal with difficult life situations alone. I tap into my vast network of support (friends, family, coaches, therapists).
• Accept verbal abuse from a boss, co-worker, family member or friend.
• Keep my opinions to myself when they don’t align with those of others in the room. I use my voice.
• Let social norms dictate what I should be interested in, whether it’s clothes, art, music. I love what I love.
• Invest time in relationships that aren’t aligned with who I am and who I want to be.
• Finish reading books that lose my interest.
• Take junk mail into my home (I have a recycling box at my mailbox).
• Feel the need to check my email multiple times a day.
• Get caught up in other people’s drama.
• Feel an obligation to spend time with family members or friends who choose to live in chaos.
• Feel bad about saying NO when NO is what’s best for me.
• Throw away anything that can be recycled.
• Spend time with people who talk AT me instead of WITH me.
• Run my business by myself. I have a team of support (virtual assistants, web designers, coaches, mastermind partners).
• Charge less than I’m worth in my business. I know my value and only will work with people who believe in my value (and theirs).
• Put my needs last. I fill my tank first so I can be the best woman, wife, mother, daughter, friend possible.
• Run around like a maniac. I chunk my time into three key areas: focus, flex and open. I respect the power of discipline in my schedule.
• Prepare my own taxes. I pay someone else to do it.
• Let people walk all over me. I create boundaries with an open heart.
• Think of self-care as a luxury. I build in regular renewal breaks.
What do you think about this list? Does it excite you? Does it get your heart racing? Does it scare you? Does it piss you off? Does it make you a bit nervous? Does it relieve you? One small “no” can open your mind to new possibilities. Try it and see.
This is all about upgrading our lives. If you’re tired of being tired, tired of living in a constant state of overwhelm, and sick of the “is this all there is?” thought, then YOU ARE READY to start saying NO.
Create Your Own List
First things first: spend a week looking for those activities that you no longer do, no longer want to do, of would like to give up at some point in the future. Also, look for the sources of frustration in your life – the same old arguments, the typical commitments that backfire, or the situations that always leave you feeling drained or resentful.
Create your list on your computer or in your notebook or journal. Post this list in a place where you’ll see it every day for at least the next month. To strengthen your resolve, take five to 10 minutes each day to read through your list. Imagine that you’re inscribing these new rules into your own life policy book. You are the CEO of Y-O-U … and this is the most powerful way to run your life more efficiently and effectively.
Your ABSOLUTE NO list will make you feel safe, protected, taken care of, and free to be your BEST SELF. If that payout doesn’t propel you do create your list, I’m not sure what will. Stop making your life so hard … start saying NO to make room for more YESES. Your life will change … guaranteed.
So, I’m curious … what’s on your ABSOLUTE NO? Share below. I’ll see you there!