"I know the price of success: dedication, hard
work and an unremitting devotion to the things you
want to see happen."
-- Frank Lloyd Wright
Last month I talked about making conscious choices
when a request pulls you off the route to your
dreams. But how do you say no and still feel okay
I used to believe that women had a harder time
saying no, that we are somehow more likely to
volunteer for activities even when we know our plate
is full. Remember the saying, “If you want something
done, ask a busy woman.” Now I'm not so sure. I
think all of us, men and women alike, are able to
multi-task to such an extent that we have a hard
time winding down at the end of the day or taking a
break even when we desperately need it.
In another organization (I’ll keep it anonymous to
protect the innocent), I was asked to be membership
chair. I had been a member of the organization for
less than six months and really wanted a chance to
be “just a member” for at least a year. I was happy
to help out on particular short term projects, but
membership was a year-long effort and one that I did
not feel I could give the time and effort required.
The woman who asked me acted irritated when I
turned the position down. I felt horrible. It was, I’ll
admit, a contributing factor to my leaving that
organization. I expected her to understand and to
respect that I would know best when I was
Guard your resources.
have determined which way you want to
go and you get one of these requests to do
something that pulls you away from your goal, have
the courage to say no. If you know that your dream
is still valid, that you still want to make that dream
happen, you have no choice but to say no. Too
often, we convince ourselves that an activity will
take just a little bit of time, energy, money.
Remember that your resources are limited. Remember
that every activity that doesn’t lead toward your
goal pulls you away, even if only for a moment. Can
you afford the time? Is your goal something that you
want to postpone? If so, you can say yes happily to
these requests. If you have wanted to achieve this
goal and it seems to ever recede from you, the
cause may be your tendency to take on other
projects that rob you of your resources.
Try it for just one week.
Try this. Make a decision to follow your dream for a
week. Say no to every project that comes your way
that does not directly result in you getting closer to
your dream. Pretend that your dream is like your
taxes. If you were like me, you were madly getting
your taxes done (or finally deciding to file for an
extension) right before April 15. The only other thing
I did the week before the deadline were activities
that absolutely could not be put off. Pretend that
there is a deadline at the end of the week and you
have to get as much done as possible on your big
dream. For just one week, give that dream the
highest priority in your life. If people need you, let
them know that you are under deadline, but will
gladly get back to them next week. Do not wait until
you are on vacation to do this. Do it this month.
My guess is that you will make more headway in this
next week than you have in months, maybe even
years. That feeling at the end of the week is what
your entire life can be like. Give your dream a
chance to flourish by believing in its importance and
Have a marvelous month!