For the last several weeks, I have challenged myself in a whole new way. I exercised the word “No” and in doing so built a powerful new skill. Rather than finding time in my life, I have learned to create it. Shifting my command statement from “Yes” to “No” has provided me both space and personal freedom. It’s not to say it’s been easy. I have put a lot of hold (including writing and the social media forum I committed to sharing). I also stepped far outside my comfort zone to implement it.
“Yes” has rolled easily off my lips for as long as I can remember. It’s been my go to response to just about any and every request I receive (what I am referring to is “yes” to opportunities, “yes” to experiences, “yes” to commitments and ultimately “yes” to an over-driven life). I’ve been going full throttle in a sea of “Yes’s” for so long that I lost sight of the horizon. Until recently, asking me to slow down was like asking me to me to abandon my ship entirely. I couldn’t do it and I didn’t know how.
As with any imbalance, there is both a payoff and cost. In rambling off my “yes’s” I was filling life with community and a sense of belonging. That is a pretty good payoff for me. It taps right into what I need. The cost however was grave. While moving at warp speed, I began sinking. My body quite literally started firing off warning sides of failure. Rather than creating the time to address the issues, I began to put Band-Aids on the engine…a couple rounds of snooze in the morning, an extra scoop of protein to my smoothie and an afternoon trip to my favorite local coffee house, SIP. Adding manufactured fuel worked until it didn’t. The final warning sign came with my annual mammogram that led to a breast biopsy and a visit to my Chinese medicine doctor (coincidentally, or not, they both got scheduled on the same day). While the biopsy was ultimately fine, the Chinese medicine doctor could see, smell and feel the stress and anxiety that had accumulated over time. His words were simple, “It’s time to make a change.”
I took his sage advice and shifted multiple things in my life and more. The Silk Road to recovery required hitting the personal pause button and exploring where I had overloaded my life. I removed what I needed to and began selectively saying “No.” It was terribly uncomfortable at first. The more I began to say “No”, the easier it became. In reflection I began to realize that the only thing I ever jeopardized by not exercising it was my health and wellbeing. Everything and everyone was still there. My community and sense of belonging lived on despite my “No’s”. AND I created and continue to create time for some remarkable experiences with the people I love most.
With time on my side and a pocketful of NO’s, I sign off with energy and excitement for what’s to come! It’s time to begin fresh!