You can’t do it all. You can’t be everywhere. Don’t over-commit and then talk about how stressed out you are. Saying “No” to yourself as well as to others is not easy to do. Saying “No” can sound something like this, “I can’t commit to this as I have other priorities at the moment.”. Easier said than done.
I just passed on a chance to play at Bethpage because I simply can't do it all - too much going on in the office and this was already a short week. I was really putting myself on red-alert for no reason. I know this doesn't mean anything to non-golfers but trust me its PAINFUL!!!! The minute I bowed out, I could feel my blood pressure start to come down to a normal rate. My heart stopped beating out of my chest and my anxiety level started to subside. Saying “No” can be a good thing.
This week was also Opening Day for football season, and I had an opportunity to attend the NY Giants season opener against the Dallas Cowboys. Did I mention I played golf on Monday? I’m really not complaining about the fun I’ve had this week, but in true goal-setting, high-achieving, never-satisfied, always-wanting-more fashion, I found it really difficult to pass up on an invitation to play Bethpage Black on Friday (tomorrow). It was just a couple of weeks back that it was the home to the Barclays Golf Tournament and from what I’ve heard, Bethpage is one of the nicest golf courses on the East Coast.
As you can tell, I’m guilty of over-committing. I find it difficult to say “No” at times. My instinct is to go for it, to try and do it all, but part of the process of maturing is the concept of prioritizing responsibilities. The reality is that this is all self-imposed stress. My true focus should be on what’s most important. Were I on vacation, then it’s a no-brainer, go play golf. The truth is I’m not. The real truth is that not only am I not on vacation, but despite having employees that can man the fort while I play hooky, the timing is not just right because there is tons of work that I need to do as well. I just can’t take time off during an already extremely busy and short week. The right thing to do is to bail out. Which is what I ultimately did.
It’s amazing to finally have that epiphany that its OK not to try and do everything. To realize that not only is it OK to say "No", but that it also has health benefits. Finding that balance of life, work, and play is a key part of not only finding serenity and peace, but of also being effective and of being in the moment. I know that if my mind is back in the office, but my body is on the golf course, I’m simply not going to perform well. Conversely, if my body is in the office, but my mind is out on the golf course, I’m not going to perform well either.
Taking a step back, striking something off of my to-do list and lowering my anxiety levels and focusing on what needs to be done NOW, not tomorrow is the best thing I can do for myself, my staff, and my clients.
I’ll get out on Bethpage Black when the time is right, and hopefully I will perform well too. It’s only golf. I can look back on the week and be grateful for what I was able to get done, and not beat myself over what I wasn’t able to do, or rather, said “No” to.
7 Simple Ways to Say “No”
Ramon has over 19 years of experience in award-winning, market-proven, print collateral, marketing material, iphone/ipad app and website design specializing in corporate identity and branding. Ramon’s passion for entrepreneurial design was borne out of 10 years as Creative Director for Jay Walker at Walker Digital, the Stamford based idea laboratory and business incubator holding over 300 US Patents. Ramon served as Senior Art Director on the start-up launch team behind Priceline.com, a Walker company and invention. Most recently, Ramon's logo and identity work was selected to be published in "Typography and Enclosures" the fourth book in the Master Library series by LogoLounge.
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