Only once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter.
The hamster wheel:
I was finishing up my spring semester of college, I had an intensive part-time job, just started my own company, had 3 clients, was heavily involved in 2 clubs, tried to go out with friends, practice my faith, go to the gym everyday, and just got into a new relationship. All at the same time.
I loved being busy, and I told myself that I thrived off of doing everything. “I get more done when I am stressed… it’s good for me, it builds character.”
Flash forward two months later, I had lost a large number of friends, had severe stomach aches, and cried every other day, but I was fine… just had a lot going on.
It wasn’t until my stomach aches got so bad that I couldn’t even leave my apartment that I realized something was wrong. I kept thinking, I am way too young to be burned out…. Why do people think I can do it all?
I was so unhappy, because I had this idea that I could do it all, and I was going to do whatever it took to be successful.
As I continued to say yes to things, I noticed that I became unhappier and unhappier with each yes I made, but then when I started to say no I felt worthless and unhappy too. It seemed like I was doomed.
It wasn’t until I realized that success comes from putting 100% of your effort into the things that actually mattered to me that I found rest and confidence.
I asked myself:
- Do these things I am saying yes to align with my values?
- What do I like about the things that take up my time?
- When is the last time you did something just because you wanted to do it?
The last sentence struck me hardest.
What do YOU really want?
When is the last time YOU did something just because YOU wanted to do it?
If it isn’t in the past week, then take this as a sign to cancel one of your plans to do something that makes you excited.
On the other hand, the idea of saying no to something that seems great in the moment can also cause stress. I want to challenge you to think of it like this:
- By saying no to this, what am I saying yes to? OR By saying yes to this, what am I saying no to?
When you say no to something, you are always saying yes to something else, and you are giving yourself permission to put more of your effort towards something that really matters.
When I chose to start saying no to things, I saw my life transform. I decided to quit my job, do my business full-time, and spend more time with my family and my boyfriend. I started to make business and life decisions based on where I wanted to allot the most time.
We have such a limited time on this earth, so it is not worth it to spend time doing things just because you “should” do them. (Whoever told you that you should do something is wrong. What do you want to do?)
It is your life, your time, and you get to decide how you want it to be.