One major advantage of being older is the blessing of perspective. Us “older folk” have lived enough years to have gained decades of experiences, failures, mistakes, victories, setbacks, trials, and tests. This means we have the benefit of context. Many of us also have a clearer picture of what “success” really looks like. What is important and what’s worth our time and what is not.
Stuff we freaked out over and that was world-ending as a teen? We laugh at now when we see that same drama in our own kids or the children of others.
We may even shake out heads and think, “I wish I would have known this when I was younger.”
Of all the lessons I’ve learned, there’s one that surpasses them all—a linchpin to any kind of meaningful life, love, success, peace or prosperity. Good news is the lesson is simple. Bad news, it’s far from easy.
I challenge you to…INVOKE THE NO!
The Power of NO!!!!
Yes, invoke the NO. NO to the wrong stuff makes room for the YES for the right stuff.
Seriously, give yourself a quota of Nos. Start with 5 and work from there. No to yourself, no to others. The word NO is the key. Yeah, this song below is about pickup-lines in clubs and is cute and I bought it and work out to it and recommend it. It doesn’t specifically apply to our NO lesson, but the chorus is actually highly useful as an ear worm.
Just retool it for your specific needs.
My name is…NO.
My sign is…NO.
My email is…NO.
My best day to bake cookies is…NO.
I gotta let you go. My answer still is no.
Setting Boundaries Using the NO
I could and probably will write a whole book on this one day but trust me when I tell you it is impossible to enjoy any kind of success, meaning, joy, peace or prosperity unless we become masters at setting firm boundaries, which again means invoking the NO.
TIME is a treasure, the most valuable possession we have.
Every minute a gold coin, every hour a jewel, every week a necklace, every year a crown. We are given this treasure at birth (though we never are aware of the treasure’s actual size). We take time for granted, thus too often fail to guard it with the NO. We give into the easy “yes” which steals our treasure one coin, one jewel at a time.
Then we are clueless as to why we are emotionally bankrupt and have nothing to show for all this work. Truth is there is a HUGE difference between being busy and being productive and that difference is two letters long.
We Can’t Have It All
Why is saying NO so tough? Because, we are flawed humans who have a tendency to get greedy (including me). We don’t want to believe we really cannot have it all.
Blunt truth time…
“Having it all” is a marketing LIE used to sell us stuff we won’t use, don’t need, can’t afford and frequently cannot even FIND. “Having it ALL” is a tactic to rook us into spending time instead of investing time 😉 .
INVOKE THE NO!
Anyone who tells us we can say “yes” to everything is a) a fool or b) playing us for the fool. Yet part of growing and learning and maturing is we too often DO fall for the delusion we can have it all and this makes us, for lack of a better word…a dumb@$$.
This dumb@$$ery is usually most visibly witnessed January 2nd of every year.
Even I’ve had stupid ideas/life plans like:
I’m going to have a bikini body, build up the home business into a multi-billion-dollar franchise, have an immaculate home, an organic vegetable garden, romantic getaways with Hubby, write ten novels, bake gluten-free nut-free vegan paleo cookies for Spawn’s school bake sale, and volunteer rescuing homeless baby pygmy goats, which I will then crochet onesies for—obviously made from yarn I will spin myself.
Imagine my shock when, at the gym, I realized Spin Class had all these bicycles that were only producing pain and sadness…and NOT yarn for my pygmy goat onesies.
Boundaries INCREASE FOCUS—Use Your NO Lens
NO is a lens that focuses energy and amplifies our actions. By the power of NO, we accomplish more with less. When we say no to all but that which is a priority, our energy transforms from diffused white light to a laser that can cut through diamonds.
We’re working smarter, not harder.
Boundaries on OURSELVES
Earlier I said the secret to everything is boundaries. It IS simple. If I set a priority (finished novel) I must then place boundaries around that priority starting with myself by invoking the NO.
Two hours on Instagram watching makeup tutorials….NO.
Binging on HBO series….NO.
Joining in on FB drama…NO.
Volunteering to beta read everyone who asks me…NO.
Boundaries set in place by the Power of NO makes the right YESes easier to spot and harness.
Dedicate two hours working on novel…YES.
Boundaries on OTHERS—N to the No to the No, No, No
Placing boundaries on others (family, friends, social media pals, kids, etc.) is the really tough part that requires probably even more training (especially for women who are taught to be “nice”).
Train your NO.
Invoking the NO has power, and the more we use it the stronger it gets.
In many females, our NO is a withered, forgotten muscle. At first when we invoke the NO, it will be painful, uncomfortable and weird. But that’s temporary. It will pass (perhaps like a kidney stone but it will pass).
If we have friends or family who never remember our number until they need money or help moving or free therapy or a place they can unload all their toxic waste (drama) on us?
Learn to ignore the call (or block the number/unfriend).
When I’m working (writing), I put my phone in Airplane Mode so no one can call or text me. There is the added benefit of silencing the siren’s song of FB pings that could distract me.
I invoke the NO using my Settings. My iPhone is strong so I don’t need to be 😀 .
We also—wait for it—do NOT need to constantly check emails. There’s no law that states we must instantly reply to all messages. We merely must respond in a reasonable amount of time because it is polite.
Anyone who gets pissy because they don’t get “instant” response can get over it. They want instant, they can buy some Sanka.
We have no Make You Happy Meals for sale. So…N to the No to the NO, NO, NO!
Yes, today I have my Sassy Pants on, but I really wish I would’ve understood this simple yet vital lesson in my 20s or 30s or even…four weeks ago.
I love helping and serving and nurturing but there’s only so much of ME (or YOU) to go around. When we focus on US by invoking the NO, we get stronger, and when we are stronger we serve better.
We have more energy, more resources (I.e. great books sales), and more discernment. YES is not always a good thing. If that person who feels the need to vent all over you suddenly can’t reach you to get all the answers spoon fed to them?
Then maybe they will have to grow up, suck it up buttercup and FIGURE IT OUT like adults DO. No is just as good for others as it is for us.
Many emerging writers want to complete NaNoWriMo. My advice? INVOKE THE NO. Want to trim down, lose some fluff? INVOKE THE NO. Want stronger finances, to be debt-free? INVOKE THE NO. Want to finish a novel? INVOKE THE NO.
Y’all get the gist 😉 .
BRING ME NOs! I WANT THEIR HEADS!
What are your thoughts? Do you struggle with invoking the NO? I’m getting better but, until very recently, I’d failed to make NO a deliberate plan and strategy. I’d failed to see I needed to make it stronger.
Which is why I am now paying my STUPID TAX honoring commitments I didn’t say no to but should have.
Like I tell my son:
When the mind is stupid, the body suffers.
Applies to me, too. Sigh. Anyway…
Do you have a hard time saying no to Facebook? Family? School bake sales? Making your kid a sandwich instead of letting him/her figure it out? No to the BIG CLEARANCE SALE? Are you getting better at saying no? What have you said NO to that you are super proud about? Share your victory and inspire us!
Do you think you could invoke the no 5 times a day? Ready to take the INVOKE THE NO CHALLENGE?
Are you an older person who now has wisdom you wish you’d have had when you were young? What do you wish you would have learned earlier in life? Share your stories OH WISE ONES!
I LOVE HEARING FROM YOU! And I am NOT above BRIBERY!
What do you WIN? For the month of September, for everyone who leaves a comment, I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).
We are in the process of moving classes around due to the two MONSTER hurricanes so a fresh class list will be available next post. You can also dash over to W.A.N.A. International to check out what’s coming up and get your spot!