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Create Better Work Life Balance By Saying No To More Things

I once heard my fellow co-author, Jack Canfield, say, “If you want to be successful, you will have to learn how to say ‘no’ to the good so you can say ‘yes’ to the great.”

That really triggered some deep, palpable emotions for me as I realized I was saying ‘yes’ to a great many things for reasons that were not necessarily empowering to my circumstances. Saying ‘no’ can be daunting; we want to please people, we feel as though we are letting others down, or perhaps we fear that people will not like us if we start saying ‘no.’

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While most of us know that we need – even crave – to create better work life balance, the word ‘no’ often triggers a host of emotions.

We recall being denied as a child or the rejection that came when we made a sales call.

The word ‘no’ is something that the wealthiest, most successful people on the planet use on a daily basis, and if we want to be successful, then saying ‘no’ must become a part of our regular vocabulary.

Is saying, “No,” the key to better work life balance?

The wealthy understand that ‘no’ is not often personal; it is merely a matter of a quick assessment – will saying ‘yes’ to this get me closer to my goal? If not, the answer is ‘no.’ People who struggle in life tend to say ‘yes’ to the wrong things. They say ‘yes’ to must-see TV when they fully understand that their family is feeling neglected. They say ‘yes’ to, ‘Do you want a second, or third, helping?’ when they know they have weight to release. They say ‘yes’ to, ‘Let’s go out for drinks tonight,’ instead of doing the sales calls they know they should make.

Your life right now is a result of what you have chosen to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to. If you want a different result – if you want to create better work life balance now – then it is time to start saying, ‘no’ in a graceful, tactful and deliberate way.

When you embrace only the best opportunities with ‘yes,’ you set yourself up for success. Greater focus can be applied when you are not juggling a million things at once – greater focus with work, family, life.

If you’re seeking better work life balance, here are the questions that you need to ask yourself when deciding to say whether to say ‘yes’ or ‘no.’

  • Does this take me further away from my dreams?
  • Does this allow me to dream?
  • Does this move me closer to my dreams?

I am often asked for my time for a variety of reasons. I used to say ‘yes’ to every request because of my perceptions that I would let people down if I wasn’t always available. What ultimately happened was that I ended up resenting all of the commitments I had made; at the heart of the matter, I was disappointed in myself for saying ‘yes’ to so much.

When I truly began to value my time and stepped back to take a moment to ask myself the key questions from the previous chapter, things began to shift. Today, I do say ‘no,’ and although it sometimes feels a little bit challenging, at the end of the day, I understand that my time is finite.

I create space to do more of the things that take me toward my dreams by saying ‘no’ to those things that are only so-so. The more successful you become, the more people will ask you for time, money and all sorts of things.

Even if better work life balance seems elusive at the moment – you still have a choice.

You may be struggling financially right now, but that is a reflection of what you have chosen to say ‘yes’ to, and by no means is that an excuse to not say ‘no.’

If something does not take you toward your dreams or allow you to dream, then ‘no’ is perfectly fine. For example, let’s say a friend has a ‘make money quick scheme,’ and you realize in your heart that it doesn’t feel right. Although the allure of up front money may be tempting, you would only be saying ‘yes’ for the wrong reasons. You might feel that perhaps you would be letting down your friend if you do not get involved, or there might be the seduction of quick money without really giving thought to how your short-term actions may affect your overall life.

Saying ‘no’ requires being bold, assertive and trusting your gut. It also illustrates an individual who is clear on their goals, values their time, and is happily setting boundaries. Furthermore, ‘no’ for now does not mean ‘no’ forever, and there are many ways to graciously say ‘no,’ thus setting effective boundaries without creating drama.


Susan Sly is a best selling author, work life balance expert, speaker and entrepreneur. She has appeared on CNN, CNBC, Fox, Lifetime Television and the CBN. Susan is the mother of five children and resides in Scottsdale, Arizona.





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