I love Warren Buffet’s quote on success. “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”
Not to take this statement out of context, nor to debate around the definition of success. I don’t know if you think Warren Buffet is a true model of success. That’s for you to muse upon in your own time. I am more curious about whether you have any difficulty saying “no” when asked to go out, do lunch, help a friend, do a quick favor, stay on the phone another half hour, etc. There are so many opportunities for us to say “yes” or ‘no’ to people and things in our life.
Yes or no is all about boundaries. So if you think you have trouble setting boundaries, you’re wrong. That’s right. You’re wrong. If you are NOT saying ‘no’ to someone/thing, you’re saying ‘yes’. It’s that simple. And there’s your boundary. You’re just on one side or the other.
You are hereby released from thinking you’re lousy at setting boundaries. Further, that you’re lousy at enforcing boundaries. That’s another pitfall of negative self-talk. I say you DO have boundaries, and when you have boundaries, they ARE in place. That’s what a boundary IS; a dividing line. It has a place and it’s between “this and that”. You are either on one side or the other when it comes to boundaries.
So how do you start saying ‘no’ even though you keep saying ‘yes’?
Let’s simplify by holding an image in your mind. Visualize you and your neighbor. You’ll see that there is likely a property line, a fence, or perhaps a wall, between you and your neighbor. Think about how you treat that neighbor relationship. Are you constantly on your neighbor’s land or at your neighbor’s place, or are they at yours? If your neighbor is always at your place, why? Is it at your invitation or do the visits come with an implied invitation by you? If you are the one always at your neighbor’s place, why? Same series of questions: Neighbor’s invitation? Implied?
If you feel impinged by another person’s wishes or expectations, it’s because you’re essentially standing on THEIR land, in THEIR yard/home, in THEIR apartment. No wonder you feel compelled to do their bidding. You’re just being polite.
But you may think that sounds twisted. Haven’t THEY pushed their way into YOUR space? Nay, I say. This is about YOU being in THEIR space. They invited you and you said ‘yes’. Flip it in your mind and take responsibility for your actions. Think about it. Why would they ask YOU to do something for THEM on YOUR property? Even using your garage to fix your neighbor’s 1961 Jaguar E-Type is all for their benefit. You’re working “on” their property.
Now, if you’ve realized you are actually on another person’s property, by invitation, how do you politely excuse yourself? I say politely because there is absolutely no cause for any sort of blame on the part of your neighbor (the requestor). They are simply doing their thing, minding their own business (which happens frequently to include you saying ‘yes’ to their business).
Here is where I duck out. Believe me, there are loads of awesome strategies online about how to politely decline, say ‘no’, say ‘yes’ to what you want instead of ‘no’ to what you don’t want, etc. Find something that aligns with your vibe.
The teensy weensy thing I want to suggest to you is this: Individuals who may be annoying you with their incessant requests are just really awesome at delegating, and you are awesome at saying ‘yes’.
Once you study up on the multitude of ways to say ‘no’ you might consider learning how to delegate. Your success is aaaalllll yours.