When to say no.

I feel like I’m not qualified to write on this topic. Maybe I’m hoping I’ll take my own advice?  Let’s see what happens….

close up photo of crystal ball
Photo by Manfred Legasto Francisco on Pexels.com

Do you commit yourself easily?  Does someone mention an opportunity to you and you simply can’t resist?  Are you afraid that if you say no, the opportunity won’t be presented to you again?

Yes. Yes. And, unfortunately, yes.

I have spent my whole life having more than one job at a time.  I have spent my whole life, pretty much, working on three disciplines (triathlon), instead of just one.  I have spent most of my life dividing my attention and multi-tasking.  Is it because I am good at it?  I honestly don’t know the answer to that question.  Is it because it’s all I know how to do? Possibly?  It’s time to step out of my comfort zone. It’s time to start saying NO.  And….meaning it.

This is a battle I have fought for so long.  I always start out with the resolution to win the battle, once and for all.  Sadly, I always lose. Why? Because I want to do everything, be everything.  Because I love what I do, and I can’t help myself.

When I began my 40’s, my older sister told me that this would be the decade where I would find balance.  Apparently, I’m still lost.  I haven’t found anything.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m smiling as I write this.  It’s not like I’m going nuts, sleeping only 3 hours a night, or suffering at all.  I just have no idea what balance is.  And, I don’t know how to say no. Because I don’t LIKE saying no.  And, I love what I do. All of it.

I like to sit down and right down pros and cons.  You know, two columns on the paper, making a list. I read over it, think about it, add and subtract things in each column.  But, I don’t stick to it.

I figure now is as good a time as any to double my efforts, right?  I have been so excited and happy lately with everything going on my personal life and work life, I feel giddy about it sometimes.  But, my family has been whispering in my ear, “Careful. You know how you tend to over commit and get overwhelmed…” And, they are right.

So, starting now, I am going to try to say NO.  I am making myself a promise, and now that I’ve made it “public”, I have to stick with it.  I am trusting my friends out there to keep me honest.  (I mean it!)

Here is my new rule: I have to wait 24-36 hours before I give an answer or make a decision.  Goodness, that seems like such a long time!  I hope I can keep my promise!  I don’t even know if I can do that when I’m thinking of registering for a race.  This may be even tougher than I thought….

Run happy. Run long.


Amy is an ultramarathoner and triathlete, a coach, a mother of four, an Exercise Physiologist and a Physical Therapist. She lives with her husband, Dan (also an ultramarathoner and triathlete), and kids in Ohio.

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