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February ‘ 07 ~ The Power of “No”

February '07

Last month I had the privilege of presenting a workshop at a literary conference for teachers and librarians across Rhode Island. To my surprise “Reinventing Your Life: A Few Necessities,” proved to be a sell-out; evidently it’s a popular topic these days!

As a framework for the workshop, I formulated 7 Tips for Successful Transitions. In explaining number 7, which is to “Practice Radical Self Care,” I suggested you might have to say “no” to some things that you’ve been saying, “yes” to out of habit. Then I gave a few examples. One of them caused some women in the audience to laugh out loud. How about you? Would you recognize yourself as someone who talks on the phone with a good friend for 10 minutes longer than you actually want to?

One of my fellow coaches refers to this behavior as “letting people steal your time.” While her words are strong, they get your attention and highlight the basic truth that how spend your time is actually under your control.

The phone example made me wonder what you could actually do with an extra 5-10 minutes each day. Then serendipitously, one of my creative and talented clients provided an answer (and generously gave me permission to share it with you.) Yesterday, in our coaching session, she came up with the idea of taking a mindfulness break at work. At the same time every day, she intends to stop what she’s doing, take a deep breath, look out the window at her natural surroundings and just let the immediate concerns of her workday float away. Yes, she will be saying “no” to the email messages and phone calls coming her way, but it’s pretty easy to see how beneficial the power of that “no” will be for her work and own well being.

So how about you? What if you tallied up the time you are giving away each day – or, put more provocatively, “letting other people steal”? It could add up to hours each week. What would you like to do with that time? Imagine how it would feel if you put the power of “no” to work in your life!

Happy Valentine’s Day,

Bonnie Leonard EdD

Certified Life Coach

P.S. I’d love to hear about what you are saying “no” to these days in order to say “yes” to something better. And if you have great ideas like the mindfulness break, let me know and I’ll share them in a future newsletter!