A friend of mine recently asked me about all the work I share about setting boundaries and saying no. “What about the importance of saying yes?” she asked. “When is it time to dial up your yeses?”
I appreciated her asking me those questions, and I want to assure you that I do still make room for yeses in my life. Here’s how and when:
When it’s a 90+. One very wise coach taught me to rank every opportunity from 1 to 100. If something registers below a 90—even if it’s an intriguing 87—it’s a no. That way, I’ve always got time, space, and energy for the stuff that really lights me up. This requires some trust in God, the universe or whatever higher being you might recognize. But it assures that I make my yeses count.
When I want to choose growth over comfort. I say yes to growth over comfort on a regular basis—knowing that facing fears and taking risks can be both humbling and surprising. I seek opportunities to be in a room with people who are smarter than I am, intentionally putting myself in a vulnerable position and believing that the best stuff happens when we have the courage to say: “I don’t know how to do this. Help me figure this out.”
When burning a bridge isn’t the best option. I am human, which means I can’t be perfect—even when it comes to shedding my own shoulds. Sometimes I hand out a yes that I later regret. But if I know that politely backing out would damage other people involved or lessen their trust in me, I’m most likely going to show up and be all in. (I then carefully register that feeling of regret in order to better understand myself and my shoulds so that I can do better next time.)
Stuck on whether to say yes or no? Ask yourself: How will I feel if I don’t do it?
If the idea of not doing it gives you an immediate sense of relief, it’s a no. If you’d feel disappointed, let-down, or a sense of missing out on something your gut tells you it wants, it’s probably a yes.
Want more? I recently shared with Fast Company the three questions to ask yourself before saying yes or no.
What is one yes you’re excited about? Send me an email,—I’d love to know!
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