The Art of Saying No Part Deux

I followed my own advice and I got it wrong.
I did too much. I needed to say no more.

How do I know I did too much? Eating to feel better, not because I was hungry. No motivation to exercise and take care of myself. I felt like my soul systems were shutting down (not critical to live, but critical to interact with the world).

I’d been down this road before, about a year post-partum with both kids. Thankfully I recognized it early and knew how to fix it. Thankfully, acupuncture immediately restarts my soul systems. Acupuncture is my reset button.

What did I get wrong? I thought my self, my mind and body, could handle more than it could. The panel at startup week I moderated, the women’s lunch at my company’s GIS conference I initiated, the women’s happy hour at startup week I attended, the Women’s Day event at my office I organized, the presentation to high school women about life as a woman in tech, the women in tech podcast interview, the intense workout program I started, all within the same 4 weeks was too much.

What I said yes to pushed me outside of my comfort zone; it forced me to show up authentically in the world. It was exhausting and exhilarating for this introvert who has always been the polite and quiet girl no one really notices. Everything I said yes to aligned with my personal goals for the year and it was too much.

How would I append my advice?

Know and respect your personal mental and physical limitations. It is not just about time, it’s also about the energy you output.

Know your personal signs (comfort eating for me!) that you need to slow down.

Have a personal recovery plan (meditation, yoga, exercise, acupuncture, saying no to EVERYTHING).

If you need help, if you need to delegate, just ASK!

Now the hard question, in hindsight, what would I say no to? Maybe the women’s happy hour – small talk and meeting new people is the hardest! but I don’t know if that would have been enough and I met some incredible local women. I also need to remind myself that I don’t need to own everything; I can delegate and share responsibilities with co-presenters and co-organizers; the success or failure does not need to solely rest on my shoulders. Maybe I would still say yes to everything but schedule acupuncture proactively.

36 years into this life and I continue to learn that my biggest personal struggle is balance. Balancing what my body, mind and soul need with pushing for my goals. I know I often push too hard. I know I need to take a step back to let the universe take its course and to give myself a rest. I know I can’t control everything even though I might want to. But dang it’s hard for me.

One thought on “The Art of Saying No Part Deux

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  1. I particularly related to your mention of delegating. I think there are so many people who are more than willing to help but need to be asked. Wish I learned the art of delegating better and sooner.

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