FOUR ELEMENTS COACHING

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The Freedom To Say No.

Today is July 4th or Independence Day in the US. We celebrate the decision as a nation to declare our independence in the most important document in our history.

We looked at tolerations in the more physical realm yesterday – fixing those cracks in the windshield or catching up with a friend.

What would it take to declare our own sovereignty? Our ability to choose only those things that are absolutely necessary for us to be the most happy and successful?

How do you feel about those commitments you’ve made to others that you know you can’t easily fulfill?  Those things that you’ve committed to that are now draining you every time you think about showing up or doing whatever it is you said you would do? These are tolerations too.

When we say yes more often than we mean to, out of a sense of obligation or feeling coerced, we find ourselves doing things that carry resentment or even downright anger. And the anger isn’t usually directed solely at the person we said yes to. More often than not, our anger is felt internally – directed straight to our own heart – because we failed to say no. And that takes a toll on our ability to love ourselves and to express self care.

“Why did I commit to this? Why can’t I say NO!? Why do I let (him/her) make me feel this way?”

Have you said this?

No is a complete sentence. A complete paragraph. But there is an art to saying no and it’s one that must be practiced frequently in order to execute it in a way that works best.

One of the most important self-care techniques is learning to say no. Not too long ago, I found a video that really developed the art of saying No for me. This concept of the Positive No works in personal day-to day and professional circumstances. The Positive No starts with a review of all the good things about the opportunity or request. And then those good things are measured against what else is really wonderful and currently most important and a decision is made.  This works well for me because, honestly, I have discovered that most often, when I must say no it’s because I have so many other truly wonderful things I need to say yes to! (More on that tomorrow.)

Sound confusing? Here’s a video explaining how to use a Positive No to create better work life balance or to change your commitment.

The Power of a Positive No

And sometimes we have to say no to ourselves. For me, when faced with figuring out how much I can do in a day, I often overestimate. I think I am Wonder Woman! So when I am looking at scheduling things, I have to be more realistic.

When I am looking at scheduling clients plus writing plus a speaking engagement plus….I take a look at all the wonderful things that are contained within that list. I think about the great opportunities that are in front of me. And BECAUSE these things are all so great, I am going to choose to do these things today and not those. And I think about when I might have a better amount of time to get this or that thing done.

Most people tell me they don’t have time or room for self care in their lives because they are too busy. So today, take a look at the Positive No and see if it helps you learn to say no more easily, to yourself and to others.  After all, what we want is to create some space for self care beyond this 30 days.

Blank space is allowed and encouraged. It’s called Self-Care. 

What would have to change for you in order to easily say no?

So today, take a few moments to think about what you have committed to and whether you have the capacity to continue this commitment. Who or what do you wish you had said or could say no to? Can you use the Positive No to eliminate this toleration and find more time for self- care or for things that make you feel more in line with your time and priorities?

Can you jot down a few words about how you will approach a situation with a Positive No?

How can you remind yourself to pause, take a breath and create some time to carefully consider decisions without automatically saying, “yes!”?

PS – there’s a theory about the difference between men and women. It goes like this: If a woman makes a to-do list, she will write those to-dos on the entire span of the paper until she’s filled up the space. She’ll keep searching for things to do in order to have a complete document. Sometimes, she will even write down those few things she has already done so that she feels more accomplished. As though what she’s writing isn’t already enough. And, if someone calls while she’s making the to-do list and says, “Can you bake cookies for the class tomorrow?” Or, “Can you drive the kids to camp for me in the morning?” her immediate reaction might be , “yes!” She may say, “I’ve got room on my to-do list to squeeze that in.”

Men, on the other hand, just write down the one or three most important to-dos and leave the rest of the space blank. They may look at the top three things they should get done in one day. Just three.

Never fear – tomorrow, we’ll work on what to say YES!!! to.

These tolerations subconsciously and consciously drain our energy, make us feel tense and sometimes even engage us in a conversation of self-blame and frustration. “Why can’t I just take the time to paint that floor?” Or “I will get to that soon or I will scream!!!” They block us from feeling good about what we have or bringing in new opportunities. If we have too much physical and mental clutter, we don’t have room to love ourselves and love the space we are in.

Sometimes we feel the heaviness of things that are happening around us. Or carrying tension in our neck and shoulders. We work at a desk and when things get hectic, we tense up without even realizing.

Self care is any act you incorporate in your moment or day or month or life that brings you joy, peace, well-being, healthy boundaries, a healthy body, a healthy sense of being – it’s anything you do for yourself, not for others or to make yourself better for someone else.

I’m going to be very transparent with you. We all have our quirks, right? So I’m going to be honest about one of mine.

When I am feeling really anxious or like things are out of control, I begin to hoard books. I do this in a couple of ways: I go to the library and check out two or three; I look at my own library of books and grab a few off the shelf, stacking them on my nightstand; or I pick up my tablet and start shopping for e-books and download a few.

But what it meant for me was getting my head in the game. Aligning my mind and my business goals with what I want to do, my vision, my why, my business philosophy. My values. Everything should be synced and pulling me forward.

My original hope of using these strategies to help clients was definitely realized. I use it when discussing team member roles, customer service, staying connected to mission, and creating a culture of empowered and respectful employees. These aren’t difficult lessons or strategies to implement – you can begin to put these ideas into practice while you are reading the book. And if you are working with a coach, it’s a way to marry the coaching and accountability piece with the tips and tactics you’re learning. I definitely introduce it to clients and invite them to bring the lessons into the coaching conversations.

When you’re self-employed, you’re responsible for all your bookkeeping, accounting and tax documentation. If you’re like me and it’s your least favorite thing to do, it often doesn’t get done.

I am NOT great at handling an email once. I’m working on it, but I will still open an email, read it, decide I need to take action on it and then leave it in my inbox for me to handle later. Later turns into tomorrow or someday and I end up with…too many emails, clogging up my inbox, that are dated and no longer relevant.

I do meditate – probably more frequently than a lot of people do. I just have this sense that I would be better off if I meditated every single day. And as much as I love meditation, it does feel difficult to keep up a daily practice. I try to remember how I created dedicated time for my morning pages ritual all those years ago. What makes me automatically get up, make the coffee, and begin journaling every single day of my life, but stops me from moving into a few moments of meditation right after? How can this be so difficult for me when it seems so simple?