You know how people love to choose a word of the year that will be their theme for the next 12 months? Every year on social media this seems to be a thing. People declare to the world what their word will be. They tell everyone, they make bracelets or custom journal covers or even post it notes that they stick on their computer screens with their word.
In the past I’ve chosen words like systems, growth, team building. and while those were all great oh, I didn’t really make a lot of progress with any of them. Because as much as I wanted to improve myself, I haven’t fixed any of the underlying problems that were preventing me from actually growing, or learning how to actually manage a great team, or implementing new systems.
That’s why my word of the year for 2023… is no.
I tend to do a lot of things out of guilt, or obligation. I do things because I feel like I should, because it’s the right thing to do, or people would be disappointed in me if I didn’t do them. I will say yes to things that I really don’t want to do because I don’t want to feel the uncomfortable feeling of saying no, and having that person get angry at me.
This came to a head on New Year’s Eve. I do not do Discovery calls anymore. My coaching program is available for purchase on my website and if someone wants to buy it, all of the information is there. I have webinars, and millions of videos about the program. I’ve been interviewed on more live streams and podcasts than I can possibly count. People know what my program is and if they want to buy it, there is so much information readily available that they can decide to do it, or not do it. They don’t need a half an hour call with me in order to make that decision.
I used to do this early on. I felt like if I could just get them on the phone I could convince them of the value of my program. but I gradually stopped doing it as I got more and more people into my program and I had less and less free time. But last week someone filled out the “contact me” form on my website and asked me to call them. They hit me up on LinkedIn at the same time. It was 5 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. And I reeeeeeally did not want to call this person.
But I decided to do it because hey, this could be the final sale of the year so why not? In the end, I spent half an hour on the phone with this person, giving them lots of free advice, and they did not enroll.
After that I was so angry at myself. I criticized myself for having done it against my better judgement. I analyzed what I said that was wrong that made this person not want to sign up. I beat myself up, I blamed myself for making the wrong decision, and for being too weak to say no.
Sadly this is very typical for me. I will make a decision to do something, and then second guess myself and criticize myself for making the wrong choice. I should have done it like this, and I shouldn’t have done that.
Therefore in 2023 I’ve decided to stop “shoulding” all over myself. My word of the year is NO.
It’s so interesting that the reason I have had a hard time saying no it’s simply because I want to avoid a feeling. I want to avoid feeling uncomfortable, or knowing that I am hurting someone’s feelings. Having someone sink that I feel like I’m much more important than they are and therefore they are not worth my time. It’s not the actual singing no that is the issue. It’s what the person will think when I say it.
I’ve been coaching myself on this for a good six months and obviously had not made a lot of progress with the thought that was making me continue to say yes, even when I didn’t want to. But on New Year’s Eve, it was like I finally got the message!
When I say yes out of obligation, nothing good really ever comes of it for me. The other person got what they wanted, but I had to give up something to make them happy. they got what they asked for and I feel resentful, angry, pissed off, overwhelmed, and annoyed.
I have to constantly remind myself that every time I say yes, that means I have to say no to something else that may be quite a bit more important. I work 7 hours a day, 35 hours a week. I am not willing to increase my weekly hours because I was too big of a chicken to tell someone no.
I have been practicing saying no and feeling good about that decision. Amazingly enough it is getting easier the more that I do it. The first couple of times it felt awful, but I have decided that in 2023 I am going to make decisions quickly, move on and quit second-guessing myself, and no longer do things because I feel obligated to do so.
My word of the year is no, and it feels pretty damned good. What’s yours?