80% of my practice concerns itself with 'Communication and Relationships'. Within that a sizeable proportion of that work is bound up with a challenge in relation to saying 'No'. Why should this be? Is it a cultural thing, a hierarchical thing or just randomly found in individual people? - Hard to say, however I do have an opinion! Saying 'No' EFFECTIVELY is a challenge for most people. It took me a long time to understand that. It implies you have both a good understanding of yourself and an easy/acquired relationship with the world and more especially the world of others!
Dear to my own heart is the notion of 'Win-Win'. I talk about it a lot. This means both sides come out on top. Failure to say 'No' means it becomes a 'Lose-Win'. You lose, someone else wins, often followed by guilt, shame and hurt. Not a happy place, we need to UNLEARN. It's my belief that until you master HOW and WHEN to say 'No' effectively you limit your effectiveness and more importantly your own happiness. In my experience, through this work you will also learn WHY you don't say 'No'. I'm a firm believer in the hierarchy of logic and sequencing of events. Let me explain what I mean and why it's relevant here.
Some things just ARE more important than others (relationships, family, integrity, love) and these things should get priority and appear in the sequence (order) of things before other (less important) things. So why don't we do this more often if it's that simple? That's the point. It IS simple, it just isn't EASY! Anything in life worth having has to be earned and toiled over. Here's the distilled logic as I see it and the sequence. Hope it's useful.
- Most of us don't know what's IMPORTANT to us (we call these our Values-what we value the most)
- Without knowing this we fail to develop vital DECISION-MAKING skills.
- Unless you know what's most important how can you decide and choose?-You can't!!
- Your decision making becomes INCONSISTENT and UNDER PRESSURE you either cave in to yourself or do someone else's bidding.....How does this ACTUALLY happen??
- Unless you know what to say 'YES' to how can you say 'NO' with surety and confidence?
- When you know 'A' is more important than 'B' you can choose 'A' with confidence.
- Most people don't know HOW to do this and that's WHY they're unable IN THE MOMENT to say 'No'........See, it's simple, just not easy!
- That's why working with a Coach to help you through this is so powerful. Everything good ultimately comes from this clarity.
- You become more EVEN, CALM and less CRITICAL, less JUDGING and more UNDERSTANDING. You begin to like yourself and others equally and freely.
- It's almost like an early glimpse of Heaven! Your STRESS levels reduce and you WORRY less about this. PERSPECTIVE is more omnipresent.
That's what we mean by saying 'life's a journey'. Yet journey implies positive movement towards something and unless we know where we're headed, we're likely to end up anywhere. That's where we end up when we can't say No...we end up NOWHERE.........This is painful work and slow at times, but when you do master it the payoff is a FREEDOM that cannot be bought, only earned. Why I love what I do so much is that is the beating heart of Coaching. A good Coach will help you as I call it 'engage with your own story' and help you understand your own story. When we fail to say 'No' we help someone else write theirs or some version of it . I believe that's why people are unhappy. We ache due to lack of real identity. We spend all day with ourselves yet we barely know ourselves. This is because all the LESS Important stuff is in the way, in front and you can't see anything real. Don't despair, here's a way out and a place to start. You can start anytime and keep coming back till it gets better (you will get derailed, that's normal!)
If you want the life you could have, then start by really engaging with these 2 questions;
Q; What is the MEANING of my Life....?
A; To detect your unique gifts and talents
Q; What is the PURPOSE of my Life?
A; To use those gifts and talents
...........What are you waiting for..............??
Get busy working with your real gifts. When you do, saying 'No' will become a whole lot easier. You only spend 24/7 with yourself, it's not like you don't have the opportunity! I remain convinced being able to look life in the eye and say 'YES' to knowing AND doing both of these things is a passport to happiness, well-being and overall prosperity.
As we approach the festive season and reflect on what we did/didn't do in 2009 remember what John Wayne (I kid you not!) once said "Today is important but not nearly as important as tomorrow. Why? For tomorrow gives us fresh hope , a clean slate and the ability to start all over again" If 2009 wasn't so wonderful don't despair, 2010 can be better. Start by saying 'YES' to Life...Your life!