What happened when I said "no"

Updated: Apr 6, 2018

Last year I pinned an 8.5x11 sheet of paper on the inside of my workspace which says, "The key is not to prioritize your schedule but to schedule your priorities." While this is beautifully stated, it is easier said than done. I am a planner and an organizer both in trade and in my life outside of work, so why should it be difficult for me to prioritize the important things first?

I have been consuming audiobooks at the rate of 2-3 per month and recently finished The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile. Through this important self-discovery, I am beginning to identify where my strengths and weaknesses lie. One of my personal blindspots is that I am overly concerned with what other think of me which translates to me saying yes to requests when I really should say no.

Believe me, I am actively practicing scheduling my priorities first and balance everything else so none of the balls I am juggling hits the floor. Jim and I talked about what kinds of vacations we want to take our family on, and they vary from a long weekend at the beach to a day trip to the zoo. By putting them on the calendar now, we can plan for them throughout the year, and plan around them instead of saying "one day we will..." Time is a thief, as my friend Somer recently said and if I am not proactive right now, I know I will look back with regret.

Here is the story of my most recent challenge and triumph - an opportunity at work. I am categorized as an achiever and performer and have been extremely happy in my current profession for 17 years and with my current employer for the last 10. I was elated when my bosses boss asked if I would work on a project with him, one that ended with a new designation, three new initials behind my name. This could open doors, big doors! What was there to think about?

The timeline for the project is four months and would require one afternoon a week out of the office. Outside office hours I would need to find six to eight hours a week to read and study. At the end of the four months, I would take an exam to earn this new designation.