During a recent conversation with a new client, she began by sharing how she really loved her job. It certainly had its stresses and frustrations, but for the most part, it provided an avenue to serve and help others in her community, and also provided her with a platform to be the go-to person for her colleagues. She enjoyed using her expertise and being an effective change maker.
So, when I asked what prompted her to book her coaching session with me, she shared this:
"As much as I love my job, I feel I am losing motivation for it. I don't have a sense of 'work-life balance' and am missing out on time I really want with my family. Quite frankly, I am exhausted and know I can't keep going like this! Something has to change, but I don't know what that is or how to start figuring it out."
Then, as an afterthought, she blurted out - "Oh, and you should probably know that I'm a serious workaholic!"
Maybe you relate?
Maybe you're thinking, "Gosh, poor lady - I'm so glad I don't have that problem!"
Maybe you have a friend who comes to mind and you think: "This sounds just like my friend Janet!"
Whether or not you've experienced burn out yourself, it's so common that I'm sure you know someone who has.
Merriam Webster definition of BURN OUT:
- exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration
So, what causes burn out and how can we avoid it?
The single most common thing causing burn out is quite simply our inability to say 'no'.
We would much rather say 'Yes, sure!' to all sorts of things than say 'No thank you!'.
Saying 'yes' is easier than saying 'no'. It's comfortable.
Saying 'Yes, sure' gives us so much... like the good feelings of fitting in or of being useful to someone.
For many of us, saying 'Yes, sure' is our default.
"Would you like to join us for dinner?"
"Yes, sure! That would be fabulous! Thank you!"
"Could you help me finish this project? I'm never going to make the deadline!"
"Yes, no problem. Which section would you like me to help you with?"
"Please proof read this report for me before I submit it."
"Yes, okay. When do you need it by?"
"Within the hour!"
(💭 what was I thinking saying yes?!?)
The truth is....
We like to feel useful.
We like to feel needed.
We like to feel included.
And we don't like to miss out.
.... So, of course, we keep on saying 'YES'!
What would life be like if we could have a go at using these three little words more: "No thank you!" ?
Is it possible to say "No thank you" and still feel useful, needed, and included?
I think it is. And here's the key:
I recently attended a webinar hosted by the incredible Michael Bungay Stanier, Author of The Coaching Habit, where he shared this wisdom:
"If you're saying Yes to this, what are you saying No to? "
So next time you find yourself saying 'yes' to something... I encourage you to reflect on your reasons for saying yes. (or, your reasons for not saying no!)
Did you genuinely want to say yes?
If so, then great! That's fabulous!
Now, because you genuinely said yes, have a think about what you could say 'no' to, to make space for your yes.
Did you really want to say no, but found yourself saying yes anyway?
If so, don't beat yourself up! (Being aware that there's a pattern is a great start!!!)
I encourage you to ask yourself this: What does saying yes give me? What need does it meet?
Truth be told, of course we say 'yes', because saying 'yes' gives us SO MUCH!!! (We're afraid of what we'd lose by saying no.)
If this resonates, then try asking yourself this: What's the worst that would happen if I said no? What am I avoiding?
Did you feel obligated to say yes? (like you had no choice???)
If so, ask yourself this: What's the reason for feeling I have no choice? (hint - we always have a choice, even when it doesn't feel that way!)
If you notice you often feel obligated to say 'yes', and you'd really like to learn to say 'no' more frequently... then I invite you to book a coaching session. During our session we'll help you explore what's really behind your need to always say yes!
If one-on-one coaching feels too much, yet you're still curious about why you struggle to say no, then I invite you to join my online FINDING YOU mentorship. Inside I have modules unpacking values and explaining core needs, both of which will help you explore the reasons you find it so difficult to say 'no'!
The Finding You Mentorship is an easy-to-understand-and-apply-every-day-in-your-own-time platform, with short videos to help you understand yourself better, and downloadable worksheets to help you implement the changes you desire.
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Kathryn Wiseman PCC
Founder, Fulfilled-Life Coaching
The problems I feel passionately purposed to help solve in my lifetime are:
To help women who feel lost, discouraged and 'not enough', to discover who they are, that their worth is unconditional, and that they do have purpose.