Have you ever committed to do something and then as D Day draws near you start to regret your decision? ’Why did I say Yes, I don’t even like Aunt Margery and now I have to spend the day with her!’ And so, you go along with what you committed to because you feel you should and then you bash yourself up for saying yes in the first place, or you pull out at the last minute and then you bash yourself up for letting people down.

In my case, my propensity to say Yes to the requests that came my way bordered on the ludicrous. I was so primed to say Yes that in conversations I would literally anticipate what someone was going to ask of me, and I would jump in and offer it up before they even asked. Seriously.

Over time, as I became more invested in investing my time well, there were three clear realisations that aided my transformation from Yes Girl to No – but thank you for the opportunity – Girl.

1. Current Yes vs Future Yes

Part of my ‘yes condition’, apart from the fact that I was clearly a people pleaser, was that I was treating all requests for my time equally. Big mistake. There are two different types of requests for your time and they will impact you very differently:

  1. Requests which require your time investment right now, for example – ‘Can I grab you for 5 minutes?’; ‘Can you help me unload the shopping?’; ‘Mum, I’m running late! Can you drive me to school?’
  2. Requests which require your time investment in the future, for example – ‘We’d love you to be treasurer of the basketball club.’; ‘Come over for dinner next Sunday!’; ‘Can you speak at our annual conference for free – it’s only a 4 hour drive from your home?’

The vast majority of opportunities that come your way fall into the latter category: they are future-facing opportunities that require you to commit your time today without the actual pain of spending your time today. You are committing to spending your time in the future, which makes for an easier yes (because it does not hurt right now!). This is a big trap: how often do you reflect back on that decision and think, ‘It seemed like a good idea at the time – what on earth was I thinking?’

And just what were you thinking?

Find realistaion 2 and 3 at CeoWorldMagazine

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