While hiking this morning, a friend of mine confessed that she’s trying to get rid of her “reflexive yes”. She told me she says “yes” because it’s the path of least resistance. She’ll take on an additional task even if it means putting in extra hours to get her own work done. She said, “When you say “yes”, you make people happy. It feels good to help out. Besides, saying “no” is hard. It makes you feel like you’re not a team player.”
She’s right. It feels good to be the hero. It’s important to share your time and talent with your team members. It’s the right thing to do to lend a hand whenever possible. But “whenever possible” doesn’t mean always. You shouldn’t sacrifice personal happiness and well-being, unless doing so in the short-run adds to greater happiness and well-being in the long-run.
Ask yourself, “Why am I saying yes?” Is it to further your career? Is it to make a difference? Is it to be part of something important? Those are valid reasons. Or are you a doormat? Do you say “yes” and then feel resentment and frustration for the added workload?
Your time is valuable. Your personal goals and objectives are important. Consequently, your happiness is partially dependent on your ability to say “no”. It takes confidence and self-esteem to say “no” but sometimes it’s the right thing to do.
Get rid of your “reflexive yes” because the path of least resistance is rarely the path to success.