“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”
– Steve Jobs
We all want to find our destiny; but how do we know when we have strayed from the true path we are meant to be on? Each of us is born with our own talents and gifts and strengths—unique energies that need an outlet. What is right for one person will not be right for others. So how do we know if we have lost our way?
Well, there are some tell-tale signs. Here’s 8 of them.
1. You’re a -holic.
Are you drinking too much, eating too much, perhaps even training too hard or working too hard? When our lives are out of balance, they veer towards our greatest weakness. If you’re doing anything in excess, then you know you’re off track.Advertising
Being a workaholic is a great excuse for most of us; we can tell ourselves we’re getting somewhere but we’re actually keeping ourselves too busy to notice the real issues. It’s a sure sign that we’ve buried ourselves in things that seem important to hide from the things that really are.
2. Everything is going wrong.
It’s a strange thing about life, but when you’re heading in the right direction, you always get the inside track. Everything flows. Life seems so easy.
But step off the path and even the little things will go wrong; you drop your cellphone in the ornamental fountain; stoplights always turn red; you get parking tickets.
Is it just one thing after another? Maybe life is not out to get you.
Perhaps life is trying to warn you.Advertising
3. You are always getting sick.
Our body is an extension of our thoughts, especially our subconscious ones. If you’re getting sick all the time, your innermost self is trying to tell you that you have lost your way. This is one of the last signs, so try to catch your thoughts and feelings before they get to your physical cells.
4. Your house is too tidy.
Or maybe just too cluttered. Either way there is no balance; it looks compulsively neat or like the morning after an orgy at a frat house. Extremes are an extremely bad sign. Take a look around. What is your apartment saying to you?
Because you might not like the answers you come up with. Are you in the right job? Should you leave your current relationship, because it’s not really that fulfilling? If you habitually avoid such questions because they make you feel uncomfortable then you are likely way off track. Most often we are afraid of the answers, because they could lead us to tough choices we don’t want to make. Why? That’s the sixth sign.
6. You are afraid of being afraid.
You’re afraid to end your current relationship because you think there might not be anything better—even though this one is pretty ordinary; you won’t leave your dead end job to chase down your dream because you’re afraid of failing. It takes real courage to change.
We are all afraid of change, of uncertainty. What if our inner voice asks us to turn our whole life upside down? We don’t want to listen. We make ourselves as busy as possible, so we never have time on our own when we may have to listen to what our spirit is telling us.Advertising
7. You feel comfortable.
Comfort zones are not always pleasant places to be; they are just familiar. Your comfort zone may be a job that pays the bills to keep you in a life that you hate; it may be a relationship that is going nowhere but is too safe to leave; it may be physical place, a hometown that you won’t leave because of family and friends even though your dreams won’t ever happen if you stay.
The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth. If you never feel uncomfortable, that’s not a good sign. Life is a journey, not a destination.
8. You are afraid to let go.
Letting go is the hardest part of moving forward. Barnacles hold on to what is safe and disdain the current; but they never choose where they are going to end up.
The past provides us with excuses for failure, so there is always a powerful incentive to hold on. It can also mean that you may have to forgive someone in order to let go, perhaps even forgiving someone who doesn’t deserve to be forgiven. But do it for you, not for them.
So if you’ve lost the way, how do you find your way back?Advertising
The most important thing is not doing, but listening.
Take time out to listen to yourself. Shut down the clutter. The best guide you have is what is inside you. If you have a gnawing feeling in your gut that you have lost your way, listen to it. It doesn’t matter if what it tells you seems illogical, or if other people will disapprove. This is your life, and you’re the only one who knows if you are living it.
Listen to the inner voice, that nagging feeling in your gut that tells you you’re on the wrong path. And when it speaks to you don’t judge, don’t say that’s impossible, don’t say my family will never let me do that—just be curious about what is there.
As Steve Job says, time is limited. It’s the one thing that doesn’t appreciate over time, the one thing no one is making more of. You don’t have time to wander off into the woods. If you have any of these signs, it’s time to check in with yourself.
And if it means taking a path less traveled by, then do it. It’s perhaps what life has been trying to tell you to do after all.
Featured photo credit: Highways Agency via Wikipedia
Last Updated on January 24, 2021
How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often
Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?
For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.
But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.
It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.
And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.
Table of Contents
The Importance of Saying No
When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.
In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.
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Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.
Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.
Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:
“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”
When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.
How We Are Pressured to Say Yes
It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.
From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.
We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.
And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.
At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.
The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.
How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?
Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.
But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.
3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No
1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.
If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.
2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time
When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.
Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.
3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters
When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.
6 Ways to Start Saying No
Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:
1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter
One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?
Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.
2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)
Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.
Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.
3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No
Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.
Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.
You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.
4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It
Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.
Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.
5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness
When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.
Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.
Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.
6. Consider How to Use a Modified No
If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.
Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.
Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.
Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.
Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.
More Tips on How to Say No
- How Self Care Can Help You Live Your Best Life
- 12 Rules for Self-Management
- 40 Self Care Techniques To Rejuvenate And Restore Yourself
Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com
|||^||Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You|
|||^||Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out|
|||^||Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”|