In the last couple of years my life has changed beyond all recognition. We added another baby to our family, I left my job and with it over ten years of working with children and adults with communication difficulties to become a work from home mother and freelancer. Rapid change can make you feel as if you are floating out at sea. It is all too easy to want to cling to every opportunity, just in case another doesn’t come along.
Having a small child has so many challenges, it changes everything, including how much time and energy you have to devote to other things. We are living in an era where we celebrate being constantly busy, where as women we are bombarded with girl boss messages and stories of women you can and do have it all, a glittering career carefully balanced with their home life. The reality is however that most of us can have it all, just not perhaps all at once and we are sold a bit of a myth.
Making the big decision to leave my previous career and all the positives as well as negatives it entailed, came with a lot of soul searching and doubt. It was definitely a frightening step, but one I certainly don’t regret now. Leaving behind certainty for something new forced me to really evaluate what I wanted, how to achieve it and what actually brings value to my life.
This blog has opened doors I never could have imagined; wonderful opportunities, friendships and connections and it has allowed me to explore ways of working I had never even considered possible. It also brings a lot of messages to my inbox that aren’t quite right, brands who aren’t the right fit or requests I simply can’t fulfil with the time that I have. I have always felt that knowing when to say “no” has been a big part of why I have been able to maintain this blog for so long, but it is a something I have really had to embrace and work on more than ever this year. Really listening to your instinct on which direction to go, is not an easy task, as we so often ignore our own voices in favour of others. Fear of missing out is a huge issue in the online world and in blogging in particular.
So many people, myself included, spend huge chunks of their lives trying to keep the status quo, never rocking the boat. We feel awkward about saying “no” to opportunities we feel we should be grateful for, even if they aren’t quite right for us. We do things against our better judgement, stretching ourselves, physically and emotionally. We are told to say yes to opportunities, that we constantly have to hustle in order to be successful. Yet in my experience, this kind of thinking often leads to us becoming more unhappy and burnt out, we loose the balance between work and life and it becomes more and more difficult to find your own path. Taking care of ourselves requires us to manage expectations; both the ones we have of ourselves and the ones that others have of us too.
So whether it is that work opportunity that just doesn’t feel right, or that friendship that really doesn’t serve me anymore, this year more than ever I am embracing the power of no. Do you struggle to say no? Has embracing the power of no helped you?