Welcome back, Dear Readers. So how was your Noooo-vember? And no, that is not a typo. Around the world for the past few Novembers, many have affectionately changed the last month of fall to “Nooovember” or even “NOPE-vember.” It’s a clever word play for a time to be reminded that “no” can be a such a beautifully powerful word.
I can remember pre-pandemic that I was your certified “yes,” girl. Need me to lead this, chair that, show up for this? Plan that, donate to this, take care of that? Just call on me and my answer was ALWAYS a big emphatic YES. Even if it was inconvenient for me. Even if it conflicted with my other plans.
It had gotten to the point that I would feel guilty at just the thought of telling someone no. I felt as if I were disappointing them and there was NO way I could let disappointment happen. After all, I’m Alexis and people need to know they can ALWAYS count on me, right? Well, at least that is what I would tell myself as I filled my daughter’s and my calendar to meet the expectations and needs of others no matter how big or small.
Guess what happened next? I got stretched thin. Worn out. Sometimes finding myself at an event or on a zoom rubbing my temples and saying, “Now, why did I agree to this?” Or literally running out of one event and zipping through traffic, racing the clock, breaking my neck to get to another I’d accepted despite the time conflict.
I was living my life way beyond my emotional/relational capacity. Hey, I was living even way beyond my calendar’s capacity!
I am often reminded of a saying I’ve heard: every time you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else. So then that must mean that exercising my NO frees me up to say YES to some other things.
If I say yes to getting that extra slice of pie that I don’t need, that may mean I’m saying no to the summer body I want.
Every time I say yes to staying up late scrolling Instagram (my Achilles heel), I am saying no to getting the much needed sleep I need to perform well at work.
Every time I say yes to the convenience of the drive-through or my 3rd brunch outing of the month, I am saying no to cooking at home and saving that money to reach my financial goals.
Every time I say yes to booking 3 events in one day, I am saying no to rest and no to balance and no to time with my family.
But that’s me. What about you, Dear Reader? Is your “no” in the right place?
Where are some areas where you’ve let boundaries get a little grey instead of black and white and it’s time to tell others “no?”
Where are some areas where you’ve put more on your plate than needed and it may be time to tell your schedule “no?”
Or tell your fears and anxiety no?
Tell your past no?
Tell distraction no?
Tell over-extending yourself no?
Tell your flesh no?
Hit that block button and tell that ex NOOOO! (Let’s put some extra umph in that one, LOL)!
Participating in certain conversations at work. NO.
“No” for me these days means really stopping to think before I say yes. It means asking myself why am I doing this? It means asking myself am I just being busy or am I actually being productive? It means asking myself am I operating at half a tank emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally or am I at full? In other words, if I give this YES, will I have any Alexis left for ME? Will there be any Alexis left my husband and children? Am I saying yes out of obligation or is this something I actually WANT to do or feel led to do?
One of my real life examples is saying “no” to non-emergency calls/texts after 8 pm. I say “no” to taking phone calls/texts after a certain time of night so I can say yes to sleep and be rested for the next day. Imagine that! I’ve learned how to tell myself, “it can wait,” and that just because it’s important, does not mean it’s urgent. (That one was a hard lesson to teach myself). I have to tell myself “no” to fixing every “problem” that comes my way. Not every circumstance in everyone’s life is presented for me to be their superwoman; sometimes they just need a listening ear.
Before we go, one last thought, dear reader. “NO” is a complete sentence. You have the RIGHT to honor your no. Say that out loud until you feel it. Say it with your chest:
“I HAVE THE RIGHT TO HONOR MY NO!”
Sure, some people will be disappointed, say you’ve changed, question your loyalty, try to make you change your mind. But NO is a healthy response and guess what? THERE IS LIFE AFTER “NO.” Saying no does not mean shutting out the needs of others. But it DOES mean making sure you are balancing your “yes" to others with YOUR own needs and your own self care.
So, say yes to self care.
Say yes to healthy boundaries (it’s my womb, not yours; stop asking when/if we are going to have a baby unless you are going to help us pay for it).
Say yes to protecting your peace.
Say yes to logging out. Say yes to hitting the backspace button before you send that unhealthy text. Say yes to putting the phone down.
Say yes to privacy (we didn’t post that we were even dating until we had been engaged for months).
Say yes to focus and no to distraction.
Say yes to walking away from toxic conversations and situations.
Say yes to turning off the news every once and a while.
Say yes to rest.
Say yes to operating in excellence instead of exhaustion.
Say yes to productivity and no to procrastination.
And then there are our no’s. The better body I want is on the other side of me saying no to sleeping in and saying yes to crawling out of bed to work out.
Saying no to some of these holiday “sales” can help you say yes to actual savings to go toward your investment or savings account.
Hey, even starting this website (that I sat on for a year by the way) meant saying no to all those doubts in my head, all those fears. And I am glad I did because now I get to meet and connect (and hopefully inspire) each and every one of you.
If you missed this Noooovember, fear not! It’s NEVER too late to take a step back to see if there are any areas in your life that need a little tune up.
Choosing you doesn’t mean we stop choosing others. It means we are strategic about WHEN to choose others. We manage our power of choice better and we manage it well when we understand the beautiful power (and sometimes necessity) of that little word “no.” 2 little letters, but in them we can find so much if we look hard enough.
I usually end by telling you that you can do anything! And I really do believe you can but in honor of Noooovember, I want to restate what I shared with my sister Leticia this year. “Just because we CAN do everything doesn’t mean we HAVE to do everything and just because we CAN do everything doesn’t mean we SHOULD.”
In other words, how to we get our proverbial house in order? We take off our superhero cape and get our NO in order.
So, here’s to carrying Nooooovember all year long. Until next time, readers, keep growing and keep shining! We will chat again soon!