Sunday, February 22, 2015

You Can't Say No...

"You can't say no until you've said yes."

That line in a recent podcast I was listening to, stopped me in my tracks. Don't you love when that happens? You hear something that just resonates within you, and although you don't know why or how, you just intuitively know that the sentence (or more accurately, the meaning behind the sentence) is going to be a breakthrough in your thought process?

What, I wondered, did the speaker mean by that? "You can't say no until you've said yes?" Of course I can say no before I say yes...I just did.

The speaker went on to explain what he meant.

What he meant was, if I can figure out the few things that fill my soul to brimming and bring me the most joy, then I have a filter by which I can say no to everything else. For all of us crowd-pleasers out there, this is a powerful tool.

The concept is actually quite ordinary...list the top 5 things that heal my soul and make me joyful.  Those are the things that I should think about and compare to all other events before I say yes to commit my time and energy to anything else! The question becomes, am I willing to give up my time and my energy for the things I love the most for ___________________?  You can fill in the blank with the 100 other commitments people ask you to participate in.  This drastically altered how I perceive saying no to things. Saying yes to something automatically means you are saying no to something else because we can't occupy two different dimensions at that same time.  If I say yes to volunteering at a PTA event, it means I am saying no to all the other things that I could be filling that time with or spending my energy on.

"The good is often the enemy of the best."  

Another quote in this podcast that grabbed me.  How do I stop feeling guilty over saying no to all the other things that are good, valuable causes but are not things that fill my soul? 

The speaker goes on to explain that saying no to something doesn't mean something is bad or wrong with that simply means that I am not willing to give up time and energy from my top 5 things to give to that other event.  My nos might be someone else's yeses...catch what I mean? Everyone's passions and top 5's are saying no to something, even if it is a good thing, a great cause, should not cause me guilt or stress.  If I fill my time with good things, then I won't have any time or energy for my BEST things.

My life, as is all others, is a sacred gift.  My time and energy are limited.  Everyone's is.  It is a finite resource that needs to be used carefully.  From this moment on, I will be choosing carefully what I fill my time with and what I spend my energy on.  I will only live this life once, and I don't plan on wasting it feeling guilty over saying no to things that aren't my best.

What are your top 5 things?  Make a list...

**All images here were taken at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania on a cold winter day, which I chose to spend with my family on a country drive. ;)  The top two were taken of model train displays and the bottom one was taken from the porthole window of one train car, looking out on the No. 4935 train.

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