When I was growing up, there was a TV commercial for an electronics company that always ended with the actor proclaiming, “It’s insa-a-a-a-ane!”
Does that same line go through your head when you open your calendar?
You’re double-booked. Meetings overlap. Work and personal commitments conflict. It’s exhausting (not to mention crazy making) just to look at what’s on your agenda.
Like the “Exploding Inbox,” a nutty schedule can be a chance to check in with yourself. As you come face to face with all the demands on your time, clearly (or not so clearly) outlined on your calendar, you can take a breath and name the feelings that arise.
Then, when you’re more grounded in self-awareness, you’re prepared for the next series of steps on the journey of Authentic Communication. You open to new possibilities about how communication can take some of the sharp edge out of your agenda, your voice, and your work.
The Biggest Word I No
Restoring sanity to your calendar – and keeping it that way – is a never-ending process of discernment.
When requests for your time and energy come along – whether it’s an invitation to dinner or the chance to lead a huge client engagement – you have a responsibility to tune in and determine whether you can answer with a whole-hearted “Yes” – or if the appropriate response is, truthfully, a “No.”
Taking on assignments and accepting invitations can strengthen our sense of self, and honoring them can foster feelings of integrity. But what if you’re uncertain about making good on this obligation? What happens if you already feel strapped for time and resources? What if your calendar looks like pandemonium?
Just as with your inbox, you start by bringing self-awareness to what you feel when you look at your calendar. And you gain access to one of the most loving words you can say: “No.”
When you frame your answer as an act of Love, you release anxiety about creating disappointment and fear of missing out. With Love you can access your inner wisdom and discern the appropriate response. You can be open to the possibility of “No.”
You might think that saying, “No,” is anything but loving. In my experience, though, this small, simple word is among the most powerful in our entire lexicon.
I’ve found that, under pressure, it can be more difficult to say, “No.” And that’s especially true if you’re a woman raised in a culture that conditioned you to be a “pleaser.”
Saying “No” can be an act of self-respect and dignity. It helps us avoid over-promising, and the inevitable disappointments and stress that follow.
“No” is only available when you start from self-awareness because it means: “I know who I am. I’m clear on the commitments in my life – to myself and to others. I know what energy and resources are available for this. I am being honest with you and myself because I love both of us. I am not willing to risk disappointing you by taking on more than I can handle.”
I encourage people to meet life with a big, heart-opening, “Yes!” But it’s vital for “No” to be in our vocabulary, and to know when and how to say it. We have to be able to accept when someone says “No” to us, too.
“No” might be tough – for many of us it can seem out of reach. But embracing . this tiny, potent word as an authentic option and learning to express it with Love can support the autonomy and dignity of being human.
And, “No” might just keep us from going insa-a-a-a-ane!
#AuthenticCommunication #LovingWork #CommunicationIsAnActOfLove #ItsInsaaaaaane #BiggestWordINo