I need to start saying “NO” to the things I do want to do

Elizabeth Gilbert

How does “saying no” improve your business? Well, bloody hell don’t ask me as I say yes to everything and try to figure it all out later. But the only thing I figure out is that I am burnt out and exhausted.

So what a bloody resounding surprise it was to listen to Elizabeth Gilbert this week in Melbourne. Now I have read her book “Big Magic” yonks ago, and loved it. So I was really keen for this event, as I felt I want to implement some really good habits this year. This year is about me stepping into my zone and owning it. No excuses.

The night before, when I was setting the alarm for 5:15am, I was already second guessing myself. I mean why was I attending, I don’t fit into “that crowd”, I don’t belong, I have too much work to do, I would rather sleep in. All the negativity started creeping in, but the alarm was set, and there was no turning back now.

And boy oh boy – it was the most magical morning. I was memorised from the first golden nugget she shared.

“Tell me, what are you willing to give up to have the life you keep pretending you want.”

The entire room went quiet. Everyone on our table, most of us complete strangers, nodded at each other. We all knew that we are our own worst enemies in us achieving our goals. We don’t have time, we don’t have enough money, we don’t know how – yet we find time for social media, to go on holidays, to watch movies, to sleep in until 10am on the weekends, (well not me on the last front – my kids make damn sure that doesn’t happen).

We sabotage our own plans and we always have an excuse, a road block, a barrier if you will that we feel is simply impenetrable. So we need to start saying No. Saying no to things we don’t want to do, but also saying No to things we do want to do. We will need to miss out on some fabulous things, for us to live the life we really want.

Elizabeth threw around some words that “entrepreneurs” say they want to be – fierce, bold, hustling, killing it, bad ass, slayer, the list goes on. But do you know what those words make you feel – anxious. They leave you constantly living a life filled with anxiety and then when you face hurdles or challenges, you are dealing with those on top of that existing underlying anxiety.

“What is we approached life, in a constant state of relaxation?”

My immediate thought was, this woman has gone mad. I mean I would never get anything done if I was relaxed all the time – as my version of relaxed is sipping cocktails on a banana lounge by the pool.

Thankfully she explained that the most relaxed person in the room holds the most power. They have the ability to make the best decisions. And when you are relaxed, you can see all the possibilities in front of you but also the possibilities that are not in front of you.

So being relaxed is not the same as being lazy (aka my cocktails by the pool philosophy) but instead, it is about being the most equipped you can be to deal with the situation at hand. It is about finding relaxation within ourselves first. And as a woman, I know I find this bloody hard.

So 2020 is about being clear on our priorities, setting boundaries and knowing when the right time is to act.

One of the big things that smacked me right in the face, was when Elizabeth talked about her overflowing inbox. Yep, we have all been there right. Replying to random emails late at night or early in the morning as we are just so eager to please everyone even if they are not our ideal client or someone we would normally do business with. However Elizabeth said one of the biggest ah ha moments was when she thought “I now treat my inbox like my home, and I don’t want strangers having a key”.

That right there is having clear line of sight on who and what matters to you. Random strangers who want to suck your knowledge and skill set and provide nothing in return – are not the people you would invite into your house, so you don’t need them in your inbox creating more anxiety and sucking away your precious time. And it is perfectly OK to delete those emails without a second thought. No guilt, no remorse, no wasted time.

Now I am one of the first people to acknowledge that I do set boundaries, and in the past I have let certain clients and people stomp all over those boundaries as I was too scared to push back. Well that is stopping right now. No more. Boundaries are a reflection on how much I value myself, and in order to be successful, you often have to turn things away. But you can only do that if you know what kind of behaviour and attitudes you are willing to accept.

Draw a circle of what is “sacred” to you and put yourself smack bang in the middle of that circle. You are not an outsider looking in on your life, you are in control, but you can’t control what you don’t know. So draw the damn circle.

I am going to admit that most morning networking/self development events kind of leave me loving the breakfast more than the content, which is disappointing given these events come with a hefty price tag. But this time, I was hooked on every single word. I made 7 pages of notes on a crappy Crown notepad as I didn’t even take my own notepad as I was sure I wouldn’t write anything.

I walked away from that breakfast, knowing what I need to do this year to ensure my priorities are defined and that my sacred circle is only allowing the right people inside. I walked away from that magical morning knowing “It’s all goin’ be all right” and that I am totally worthy of having a seat at the table.