The Struggle With Saying NO
Recently, I was talking to a client about an upcoming meeting that was a huge opportunity for her and her company.
She was given the opportunity to prepare a presentation that would highlight her company’s work and mission in front of some very well-known CEO’s, investors and industry leaders.
With pure excitement we created a plan to leverage this conversation to stand out and stay top of mind.
She went on to prepare a presentation that was captivating, direct and opened opportunities for real change.
She did this presentation during a family vacation, which meant she had to find a location to present and take time away from her family.
So while she was excited for the opportunity, she felt guilty and recognized that leaving her vacation house to do this presentation isn’t actually what she wanted to do.
Before she led the presentation we talked about her vacation and managing this work during her time away. Her response was to justify it by saying that it was the opportunity of a lifetime and she wanted to make it work.
And with all situations that something doesn’t feel quite right, there was a lesson for her in this that we uncovered.
Fear of Missing Out
FOMO, you’ve heard the term before and it’s one of the biggest contributing factors to feeling overwhelmed as a business owner.
When you are ambitious and truly care about creating change and making a mark on the world, it’s easy to say yes to everything. The more you say yes to, the more opportunities you are presented with. Until you are so exhausted that leading your business feels like climbing out of quicksand.
Saying yes to everything isn’t fair to you, your family or the people you are serving. When you are spread thin, nobody is getting the best quality work or leadership.
People pleasing plays a huge part here, especially for women in leadership, we don’t want to rock the boat or make anyone else upset so we nod our heads and agree to whatever will make everyone around us happy. Until we are full of resentment that gets taken out usually on the people closest to us causing division and isolation - which is the opposite of what we desire as humans.
Fear of missing an opportunity will cause most leaders to stop prioritizing their own needs, wants and desires which only ends up getting each of them to a point where they ask…
Who am I even doing this for?
What am I really wanting to achieve here?
What is it all for?
It’s the reality that most CEO’s and founders face when they see that they are in fact not the boss, their calendars are.
And truthfully, when fear is driving the bus, you can’t ever win.
Taking Opportunities and Honoring Yourself
So, how do we take fear out of the driver’s seat and put ourselves back in?
First, you have to get clear on what you really want. Not what you think you should be doing or what makes other people proud, what do you actually want? Personally and professionally for your happiness and the story of success you are here to write, what do you want the chapters to be? How do you want your days to look and feel?
When you have a clear picture, you can create specific goals. And when you have specific goals, you can create a plan to get there.
Secondly, you need to raise your standards. Stop accepting less than you deserve, stop settling for anything less than what excites you and feels extraordinary… and is in line with the plan you laid out for the bigger goals.
You’re going to have to let some things go so that you can grow, and when you have a clear plan on what you want met with a new standard of what you are willing to accept for your life and business - you are one step closer to defeating FOMO.
Last, and possibly most importantly, you have to create boundaries to protect you, the people you serve through your company and the relationships that matter to you. Understanding what you want and no longer being willing to settle for anything less only works when you have clear rules in place that protect your time, energy and values.
When you know who you are, what you want, and how your getting there - you can move in more alignment. When you know what is up to par for your journey and how to block out anything that isn’t in line with that - you can move with more intention.
FOMO will always exist, but the voice in your head telling you that you are missing out gets quiet when you are moving with intention and purpose.
It Should Always Be Both
The lesson that we uncovered for my client was that regardless of someone’s status or the level of the opportunity, you are always allowed to ask for what you want.
When given this opportunity, her immediate response was yes because of the caliber of this event.
What I gave her was permission that she needed for next time, to never accept the first offer if it doesn’t work for you. And to ask for what you actually want.
What if she had responded and asked to do the presentation one week later when she wasn’t on vacation?
She gets the opportunity AND her vacation. Win win.
This is the way we have to think as leaders.
How can I make this work for me and for them?
How can I honor my boundaries and serve people well?
How can I go after my dreams without sacrificing my mental, emotional and physical well-being in the process?
It should never be the presentation or the vacation, it should always be both.