Have you ever started a new project or had an idea about doing something and the closer it came to the time that you were supposed to do said activity, the more daunted you felt about it?
Suddenly the thing that you were so excited about feels too big, not you, a bad fit, boring or just plain wrong.
It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and think that you want to do something whether it be a new business or business product, collaborating with someone on a project or even just agreeing to go out with friends to partake in an activity that now seems, well, not as fun as it did when you agreed to go.
Saying yes, before you’ve thought it through…
It’s easy to get swept up in the moment. For a brief moment, or maybe even for a short period of time the thing that have you have agreed to do seems like the right thing.
As someone who is multi-passionate it’s one of the hazards of the job. A new project to get stuck into is alluring. It promises new beginnings and with it the feeling of fun, excitement and positive things to come. But the reality is often very different.
A new project or activity also means time out of your schedule doing the things that were on your list already. It can mean, in reality, a lot of extra time, money and effort and sometimes as the time gets nearer to having to make plans and decisions about how it will be done, you start to feel like it was the wrong thing all along.
I’ve done this myself, from getting caught up in the moment with friends and agreeing to go out with them, to bigger things like announcing a new product when I hadn’t throughout through fully how it will really be integrated into my business. I’ve also have the beginning of several books on my laptop that I have lost interest in.
The ‘yes’ checklist…
So, what can you do if you know that you are prone to ‘saying yes’ to things that you end up wanting to drop?
Well, I’m much better at this now, as I’ve learnt to do a few things that help me to reign in my enthusiasm in the moment so that I don’t over-commit. So, let me share with you what works for me.
1- Lose the Guilt
When you say no to something, having said yes initially, or when you change your mind about doing something, there can often be a lot of guilt around changing your mind.
Guilt will have you stay stuck for longer and won’t help you to avoid doing it again in the along run. In fact guilt will have the opposite effect as guilt may make it more likely for you to say yes again as you want to ‘prove’ something to yourself or others.
If you have changed your mind about something, try to see it as an opportunity to learn something about yourself and what you really like/don’t like and move on.
2 – Communicate Clearly
If you have communicated with someone about this thing, for example you have said ‘yes, I’ll go sky-diving with you next Saturday’, then you must clearly communicate to that person that you don’t want to do it anymore. This is versus, hiding under a blanket and pretending you didn’t say yes, which might look like avoiding phone calls, text messages and emails! I’m sure this avoidance tactic sounds familiar…we’ve all done at one time or another.
Instead, get in contact with that person and clearly state that you have changed your mind.
Here is an extra tip as well, you don’t always have to give a full emotional explanation for your change of heart. It’s really typical, especially for women, to over-explain their actions, for example:
“…sorry I can’t make the meeting, I have 4 other meetings that I’m trying to fit in that day and I’m really struggling to…”
It is OK, in some situations (and the person you are speaking to will define this), to just say ‘no’ to something without giving a full breakdown of your emotional, physical and financial history.
The other person should trust that you have a good reason for cancelling. If you are close to them, you may want to give them a little more meaningful contextual information, but very often, especially in a business setting, this full life-historical explanation isn’t actually needed.
3- Stop, look and listen!
Remember the old adverts on TV about crossing the road….stop, look and listen before crossing the street, making sure that the road is clear before crossing over? Well this is just the same thing expect you are going ‘inwards’ for this info.
When you are asked if you want to do something by someone else, take a moment to Stop and assess your feeling on doing this thing. How do you feel about it, excited? Happy? Daunted? Regardless, just notice what your feelings are and don’t feel that anything you think/feel in that moment means that you have to give an immediate response or act straight away. In fact I really recommend that some take time to look at it for a while. You can always say that you will get back to someone in a few days with a decision after you have really thought about it.
You should then Look at where this fits into your current situation. You may wish in this instance, if it is something you are considering doing yourself, to write your idea down on a paper and sit on it for a short while, taking time to process how this new project can be assimilated into your current life/business. What are the pros and cons? What is the cost, both time wise and financially for example?
Then in this time that you are taking to look at the possibility of doing this thing, Listen to what your emotions, gut and logic are telling you to do based on the facts in front of you. Just having that little bit of time out to really think about something can help you make a decision that is right for you.
Letting it go…
The fact is, is that not all business ideas are supposed to be brought to fruition. Not all books will be written. Not all hair-raising activities are going to appeal to you in the cold light of day; and if you find yourself in a position where something doesn’t fit anymore, its OK to let it go.
Getting into the habit of taking time to say yes and reflect on what you really want to do, how things fit into your life and merits of taking on new projects and activities has a big impact on your life.
Your actions will be more aligned with your future goals and things really get done. You also become someone who is ‘their word’ to those around them, as you when you say yes, you mean yes versus the person that always says they will do something, but doesn’t!
I hope you have found this useful. As always I’d love to hear about the things that you have been glad that you have said no to. How did people react? Have you become more of a person of your word? What has saying no, and letting go down for your life/business?
Til next week.