I'll let you all in on something I've learned over the years - and it took a lot of 'em. NO is a great word; NO is not a negative word. It is, in fact, one of the most empowering words in the English language.
While the literal definition of "no" is to reject, deny and turn down, I prefer to think of it as a means to opening yourself up to MORE. Too often we say YES to things we can't afford -- either with our finances or out time. When you stop saying no, you risk taking on more than you can handle. What happens then? You might get everything done but it won't be at a high standard of execution or effort. Or, you might not get everything done at all. You let people down. You let yourself down. And sometimes, frankly, it leads to more work upon work, when in your guilt you feel like you have to make up for what's happened.
At a base level, consider that when you over-commit yourself, you're also often depriving yourself of rest and sleep. Even meals. You end up sick more often.
You're never home. This makes you feel restless. And, in a way, isolated. Home is where you go to recharge. Home is sanctuary.
You become a terminable people-pleaser. Your personal projects and goals fall by the wayside. (And you should never feel like making time for your own stuff is selfish!)
Passion also falls by the wayside. How can you be passionate about a million things? We'd all spontaneously combust. You become the person just trying to stay afloat instead of the person kicking ass. I argue that it's better to find a just a few things you're excited and passionate about and do them really well. From a business perspective, you want to be an expert in a niche. No one can be an expert at everything. (And hey, no one likes that guy anyway, right?)
The word NO takes courage. It means owning who you are and what you want and need. It shields us from being taken advantage of. Sometimes, it's all there is to protect us from our own kindness. YES is good, too. Yes supports opening yourself up to new things and being helpful but there's a time and a place for it. I completely understand everyone out there having their years of yes but in 2017, I'll be over here having a Year of NO. Because I think saying NO sets us free.
If you'd like to join me in the Year of NO, I've set up a private Facebook group where we can all hold each other up as we learn to acknowledge that NO is power. Please leave a comment below and include your email address.