Aim for impeccable vs average
We know when we’ve done it: agreed to something that we shouldn’t have. Sometimes we say yes because we want to be liked, sometimes we get talked into things because we think we “should” do them. But the truth is, we are not meant to do everything. And, if you aren’t the one to do it, there is a good chance that someone else will do it anyway.
A clear and sincere “no” can be very powerful. I’m not saying to be bratty, stubborn, or flat out lazy. I’m suggesting that before you take on yet another task, quietly check in with yourself and ask, “Do I really want to do this?”. If you don’t absolutely 100% want to do it, then with direct sincerity say “no”.
Marie Forleo (marketing maven) calls it “buying a first class ticket on the ‘no’ train!”
If you say yes and then try to slide your way out of it, you are on a slippery slope to being unreliable. And part of being successful in life, is being someone others can count on.
Don’t take my word for it…look around in your own life. Who is accountable? Who is a flake? How do you feel about that flaky manager, friend, professor? What is you honest opinion about them? Knowing you can’t count on them, what level of respect do you have for those people?
Is that how you want to be perceived by others? I doubt it. None of us wake up in the morning stating “Today, I shall drop the ball!”
We all want to have integrity. But before we can have integrity with others, we have to have it with ourselves. How good are you at keeping your commitments to yourself? Usually people who follow through on goals for themselves, find it easier to turn down requests that they know they can’t commit to. If however you notice you are knee deep in promises that you now regret making, you likely are letting yourself down as well.
But, with practice, you can change that.
I started with a 30 day challenge to floss my teeth every day. Since childhood, dental hygiene has ALWAYS been a struggle for me. As much as I hate the dentist, for some reason, I hated flossing more. So, my challenge was to floss every day for 30 days. I chose this challenge also in the hopes that my dental experiences would be improved should I finally adhere to this practice. I stuck to it. If I missed a day, I had to floss twice the next day…until I got to 30 days. (and now I floss most days)
Maybe for you it’s:
-Putting out your gym clothes before you go to bed.
-Making the bed.
-Gassing up your car every Sunday.
-Sitting and meditating even if it’s just for a few minutes
-Eliminating a specific food from your daily diet
You can also set small commitments with other people. Turning off your phone for certain periods of time is liberating once you get past the technological withdrawal. Unless you’re an ER surgeon, it can wait. You can have 5 minutes without being at someone’s beck and call. (And side note, if you are taking a class like yoga or pilates, turn your phone off. It’s distracting to the rest of the class and the benefits you will reap from unplugging will far out way the hour or so that your friends or boss can’t reach you.)
And let me stress, your time is VALUABLE. I used to have a hard time ending sessions on time if clients were late. Now? It’s easy. But, I had to ride out the queasy feeling of letting them know out time was up when the hour ended…regardless of what time they arrived. I still have people see the clock and try to “extend” their time with more questions, but now, I firmly say “we’ll go over that next week. Our session was until 11am” etc. But for the most part, they have learned that I stick to my agreements and our session time is one of them. Being accountable is always more appreciated than being flaky.
So, challenge yourself to make and keep your commitments to yourself and others by starting small. Then, when the bigger requests come along, quietly and honestly ask yourself if this is really something you want to do. And if the answer is “No”, be as direct and respectful as possible. Because sometimes, the best decision, is to take that “first class ticket on the ‘no’ train”!