A Skill to Develop

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In those choices lie our growth and our happiness.” — Unknown

Everyone doesn’t have the ability to say “No.” Such a simple word to say but, too often, we acquiesce to whomever is asking something of us in order to avoid discomfort or disappointment.

In some situations, you have to agree to doing things you don’t want to do. It’s a part of being an adult. Do I want to pay taxes? No but I know the benefit they provide to the greater community. Do I want to go to work every day instead of writing and photographing? No but I know that these bills aren’t going to pay themselves. Do I want to fix the toilet at my job because the facilities department is short staffed? No and I’m not going to because that is far outside of my job description.

We have to draw lines and, too often, that line is so far out that people will call on you for any- and everything simply because they know you’re capable. Well, we’ve got to get back to the point where we’re not making ourselves uncomfortable in order to make everyone else comfortable. Don’t feel like going out but your homegirl does? Tell her you can’t make it tonight. Not in the mood to pick up someone else’s slack at work? Brainstorm how you and your supervisor can work together to share the additional workload and present that. Too busy to be on yet another committee or board in the community? Let the organization know that, while you believe in what they’re doing and would like to support, you can’t do it in that capacity.

Be selfish with your time until you find something you really want to invest it in. And, even when you do find that job/organization/partnership, if it’s not what you expected it to be, don’t be afraid to reassess the situation in a healthy fashion. No one on this earth can return a second to you so make sure you’re not giving any of them away.


Make saying no a priority.


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