It’s a new year. That’s a fresh start; a time to focus on your goals. What do you want more of this year? What do you want less of in 2019? We want to use this momentum to our advantage and maintain traction, so let’s take a moment to set ourselves up right.
One of my goals for 2019 is to find ways to say yes to opportunities that present themselves. I know this can be a double edged sword. Saying yes can open doors, lead to new opportunities, and springboard my growth and development. Saying yes can also lead to overwhelm, over-extension, and compromising values and priorities.
Everything we do in life has a trade-off. Things cost money; things take time, planning and prioritization; things can be uncomfortable. For example, going to the gym has a fee associated with it, I need to coordinate childcare, I need to schedule time to go (time to get there and back and shower), and it is physically demanding. The reward of being fitter, stronger and of having that time dedicated to taking care of myself is precious to me.
Yet the gym often seems to be the first thing to go when life gets hectic. This is a symptom of not setting and protecting my priorities. It is a symptom of not being mindful of my most precious and limited resources: time and energy. It is a symptom of saying yes to things without thinking of the consequences and trade-offs of saying yes.
When you are asked to do something (even if you’re the one doing the asking), take a pause. During this pause, thing through what you are being asked, and what that will take from you.
Your time and energy are limited. What will need sacrificed to say yes to this? In other words, what will you have to say no to in order to fulfill this yes.
I want to set aside dedicated time each day to plan and prepare for the day ahead. In order to say yes to this, I need to say no to hitting the snooze button. In this case, the benefits outweigh the costs. I should go ahead and say yes to this (and acknowledge that saying yes may be harder when my alarm goes off).
I have been asked to take a volunteer position. In order to say yes to this position, I have to say no to one evening a week with my family. Depending on what else I have on my plate, how many other opportunities I have to spend time with family, saying yes to the volunteer position may be too steep for me. It might be better for my values and priorities to say no.
When considering a business opportunity, saying yes to a particular training opportunity may fill my docket. This could be wonderful news, or it could consume the bandwidth of my business, therefore eliminating my ability to pursue other opportunities. This might be worth it, but it also might set my business up for struggles when that project ends.
When being asked to say yes to something, evaluating what you have to sacrifice or say no to in order to fulfill that yes provides you with critical information you need to make a decision. Saying no can be very difficult, but saying yes when it overextends your or compromises your values and priorities does more harm to you and your resources than saying yes.
As I move forward into 2019, I want to find ways to say yes to more opportunities; but I will be taking a pause to reflect on what I need to sacrifice or say no to in order to fulfill that yes. Then I will determine whether saying yes to each opportunity is congruent with my values and priorities. I encourage you to find ways to say yes to opportunities that show up for you, as long as saying yes helps you maintain your values and priorities.