The Big Idea
You don’t always have to say no. Sometimes saying YES is the best thing you can do.
Questions I Answer
- How do I know if an opportunity is right for me?
- How can I make better decisions?
- How can I decide when I have FOMO?
Actions to Take
- Download and start using the Finding Your Yes Download.
Key Topics in the Show
Learn why you’re not a yes person or a no person.
Why balance is bogus and it’s really about harmony.
Why it’s not all about saying yes to everything.
The key to saying yes to the right things.
Your “Finding Your Yes” download.
Resources and Links
- Related Episodes:
Hello, hello, everyone. Welcome to Productivity Paradox. I’m your host, Tanya Dalton, and this is episode eight.
Today, we are going to be continuing our conversation about setting our priorities and we are going to be building on the last two podcast episodes. If you’re joining us just now, that’s absolutely okay. I’m going to give you a quick review. In episode six, we talked about the three levels of priorities. We took that Eisenhower Matrix and we took the triage method and we combined them to create our own hybrid with three priority levels. We talked about that we want to spend the majority of our time in priority two, important and non-urgent tasks, because when we spend time in priority two, we can really focus. We can spend the time to do our best work that helps guide us towards our goals and mission because these are items that are important to us.
Then in episode seven, we talked about how to get rid of some of the extra clutter and the noise that we find in our priority three level, which are unimportant and urgent section. We talked about strategies for saying no, including ways to filter out tasks so we can feel a little more empowered to say no. We gave some good excuses on how I can maybe help you say now because I know that can be one of the stumbling blocks that we all have. We also talked about getting rid of the guilt and the negative feelings that are associated with saying no.
If you haven’t listened to those episodes, I definitely do encourage you to go back and give them a quick listen. Like all my episodes or at least most of my episodes, they’re around 20 minutes and I do that on purpose because my goal with this podcast is to empower you to prioritize, to set your goals, to find your mission and really, I feel like by keeping my podcast to this 20-minute length, whenever I can, I’m allowing you to get these bite-size pieces and I want you to really take the time to listen and then be able to implement it.
Instead of spending all of your time listening to me carry on and talk because, quite frankly, I could talk about all these things all day long if you let me, but I like to make them so they’re bite-size so you can grab them and go start using them. Okay? Definitely go back. It’s not going to be a huge time commitment. If you want to stop
where you are right now and go back to six and seven and listen to those, it’ll take you about 40 minutes because both of those are about 20 minutes.
Okay. Back to the issue for today, which is all focused on finding your yes. I’m going to be honest, it’s really confusing for a lot of us to know whether we want to say yes or whether we want to say no. The messages out there from society and from books and social commentary make it even more confusing. Just think about the titles of books that are out right now. The Year of Yes, the Power of Yes. There’s more articles than I can count focusing on ways to say no.
The problem with this is that we’re bombarded with this information and a lot of it leads you to believe that when you’re a yes person, you’re open to new experiences. You’re willing to take chances. Maybe your game to get out of your comfort zones and take some risks. When you’re a no person, you’re setting up these
walls with very firm limits and boundaries and you’re not opening yourself up to opportunities. No people sound a little bit rigid, right? These are extremes and it’s never good to live life in extremes.
It’s really about that concept we’ve talked about in the past, that concept of harmony. There is no balance. Balance is such a bogus concept because nothing is ever going to be even in our lives. I cannot tell you right now say yes to two things and say no to two things or say yes to three things and then say no to two things. It
doesn’t work that way. It’s not a scale. It doesn’t need to be balanced. It’s all about finding that harmony in the different areas of our life. In this case, it’s about finding the harmony between our yeses and our nos so that we’re really feeling happy. Keep that in mind as we’re talking about it because there’s really no one-size-fits-all answer. You are not a yes person and you’re not a no person.
The challenge in life is really learning to say yes or no when it’s best for you. It’s the art of learning how to make it so that your answer is yes and when your answer should be no, so it’s an art. Art is nothing something that’s necessarily easy as you’re learning, so keep that in mind. It’s okay if there are times where you say yes to things that you should have said no or no to things that you should have said yes to because we’re going to be walking through this together and everything is a learning opportunity.
When you say no, you really are practicing good self-care techniques and you’re letting go of being a people pleaser and a lot of us are people pleasers, myself included. When you’re saying say, you’re practicing being open to new ideas and opportunities, places where you can expand and grow. Those two concepts can really work hand in hand very well together, so we have to get rid of that mindset that either it’s all yes or all no because it’s about the harmony. It’s about a marriage between the two and making it work for you.
Now, let’s talk about one of those books that focuses on the yeses, the Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes, and it talks about saying yes to the things that scare you. People look at the title of the book and they automatically assume it’s about saying yes to everything in the course of our year and it’s really not. It’s really focusing in on saying yes to the things that are going to push you to grow and a lot of those times, those are the scary things. Those are the things that you want to say no to because they scare you. It’s about getting out of comfort zone and really pushing your boundaries and that’s something I tend to agree with myself. Some people are taking it to the extreme that they need to say yes to everything and that is not the intention behind a yes.
While you want to open yourself up to opportunities, you first need to look at those opportunities and see if they appeal to you and see if they align with your goals, and your mission, and your priorities because those are the yeses we are looking for. Those are the yeses that feel good. It’s not saying yes to everything and I’m going to remind you, it’s just as important to say no just like we talked about in the last episode because saying yes to everything isn’t really saying yes at all. It’s actually saying that you’re not setting priorities. A no does help bring your priorities into focus.
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I’m going to be honest with you and tell you saying yes can bring on some pretty good endorphins that help us feel better. The key here again, and I think I’m going to hammer this home to you throughout this entire episode, the key is saying yes because it aligns with your goals and priorities. That is the most important reason for saying yes, but you also need to make sure it’s something you can manage time wise. It’s important to make sure that you’re not overextending yourself because saying yes can feel really good when it’s your yes and that goes back to the whole purpose behind this podcast.
If you listened to episode zero where I talk about the background of why this podcast exists and I tell a little bit about my story, you know that productivity paradox is really about customizing systems and tailoring things so that they fit you, and your priorities, and your life because when we have items in place and systems in place that work for others, it doesn’t necessarily work for us and we should not be adjusting our lives to fit a system. We need to adjust systems to fit us and that is true with our system for saying yes and for saying no. It needs to fit you and be customized to you because yes is different from your neighbors. It’s different from your best friend. It’s different from your spouse or your partner. It’s going to be different because you are different and you are unique and everyone has their own yeses.
You really want to say yes if it brings you joy. If it brings you happiness and it makes you feel good, great. Say yes. Definitely say yes. If it makes you feel fulfilled, if you feel like, “You know what, that was a really good yes because it made me feel whole. It made me feel good about what I’m doing and putting forth in this world.” You want to say yes if it brings into focus a personal priority. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve said that a time or two already so I think you’re getting this concept, right? The catch here is that saying yes is not going to automatically make you into a superwoman at all.
Now, I think that Lisa Lysa TerKeurst’s book, The Best Yes, says this really well. She said, “Don’t make the mistake of the commandment to love one another as the disease to please.” I love that phrase, the disease to please, because so many of us have that disease where we want to make sure that everyone is happy with what we’re doing and that we’re saying yes to everyone so that they are happy. The person that we’re pleasing last, the person at the bottom of that list is us. It’s your own priorities and your own goals and they don’t deserve to be at the bottom of that list. They need to be at the top. You should be pleasing those goals and those parts in your mind that really make you happy because that is our end goal is feeling happy and feeling successful. Again, I’m going to say it one more time, it’s so important to make sure the things that you say yes to truly do align with your priorities and your mission.
Here’s my pep talk for you: being kind and being thoughtful does not mean putting your priorities last. It really doesn’t. It doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person or that you are selfish. It just means that you’re putting your priorities first. Being kind and thoughtful does not mean that you’re putting your priorities last. You can be kind but be strong in your resolutions. There are plenty of ways for you to say no in a kind and thoughtful way and we talked a lot about those back in episode seven
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so you can definitely go back and listen to that again or even check the show notes if you’re struggling with how to find ways to say no in a nice way.
You don’t want to say yes to everything and you don’t want to say no to everything. Are you confused yet? The question here really is how do you know if you should say yes? If you’ve been listening to my podcasts for any length of time, you know I love creating roadmaps to help us know where we want to go and what it is that we’re wanting to do. I believe that creating virtual roadmaps helps us stay en route. It helps us figure out where the destination is. Then when we get off track, it helps us navigate back to get back after a wrong turn.
What I’ve done is I’ve actually created a roadmap for you to help navigate to the right answer for you to figure out whether it is your yes or your no and that is the key here. You can’t email me a list of your opportunities that you have. Such and such asked me to volunteer for this. You cannot email me and ask me that because if you ask me, it’s about my yes and this is not finding my yes, it’s about finding your yes. Only you can decide whether your answer is yes or no.
Here’s what we’re going to do. I’ve created this download for you and you can find it in my show notes and inkwellpress.com/podcasts and then click on episode eight and you’ll find a download there or if you want to pop in there right now because you happen to me in front of a computer and you want to take a look at what this looks like, that will be great. I’ll have a picture posted for you there, but I’m going to walk through it really quickly with you.
The first step is writing out the opportunity. You knew that was going to happen because with me, it always starts with writing. Just like in previous episodes, there’s something magical that happens. Something that changes when you write things down. It becomes physical. It’s no longer just this idea or thought rattling around in your brain. It becomes a real item. It’s really important as you’re writing this down to pay attention to how does it make you feel and this is your first chance to make a decision.
As you’re writing it out, how does this make you feel? Do you feel excited about this opportunity? Do you feel scared? Keep in mind, being scared can be a good thing. Is it a good scary like, “Oh my gosh, this could be really big for me,” or is it a bad scary like, “I cannot think about how much time this is going to take me”? Do you feel a pit in your stomach as you’re writing it out? Do you feel dread? If you’re feeling negatively, and being scared is not negative remember, you have a quick answer. If you feel that pit in your stomach, there’s your answer. Really quickly, it’s a no.
If you answer no right away, if the download this exercise walks you through, how are you going to say no? You can always refer back to episode seven for easy ideas on how to say no in a kind and gentle way. If you’re not sure how you feel, then your next step is to write down the why. Why do you want to take on this opportunity? Why is always the foundation. It’s the foundation for everything we do, everything we decide upon. If you can’t accurately say why you want to do it, seems to me that your answer goes back in that no column. Am I right? If you do feel like
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your why does align with your mission and goals, the ones that we discovered on earlier episodes in this podcast, then you need to look at the time factor.
Think about how much time it’s going to take and this is the other great thing about writing things down is it gives you time to contemplate and to think. Don’t just quickly write down this will take 15 minutes. Think about it. How long is it going to take you to get there? What are the steps you’re going to have to do before this opportunity happens? What are all the different steps? How long is it really going to take you? Be really honest with this time commitment.
I want to take a minute for you to notice this. Did you notice we did not even look at the time until we got past the why? Our first step was writing it down, talking about our why, and now we’re talking about time because time is secondary. If doesn’t pass your why test, it doesn’t get it to the time step because your why is the most important part of this process. If you don’t have the time and you feel like it’s going to add stress, then it’s okay to say no. Even if with your why you thought, “This does fit my why and it aligns with my goals and my mission,” but you look at the time and you say, “Oh, you know what, I’m already working on this, this and that to working towards my goals,” it’s okay to say no to this. You don’t have to say yes just because it aligns with your mission and your goals, but you should never say yes if it does not align with those, right? Just to confuse you there a little bit.
Think about the time and if you do have the time, we have one final hoop to jump through. The question is does it fulfill you? If not, then it’s a no. If it’s a yes, then go for it even if it’s scary, even if it’s something that seems like you wouldn’t normally do it, then say yes. You can see through this exercise it’s really easy to walk through the different stages of the decision making process to find whether it’s your yes or your no.
Then we go a step further. There’s a little follow section there at the bottom of this download in this exercise because I feel it’s really important to follow up after the task is completed because this is going to help you learn what tasks and opportunities you want to say yes to in the future and everything is a learning opportunity. Life is not pass-fail. Even when something has not gone right or even if it’s something that you did not enjoy doing in retrospect, it’s okay because we take this as an opportunity to learn and mistakes are the best way to get to the best version of you that you want to be.
I really feel so strongly about mistakes and hard times are where we learn. It’s okay, when you’re doing this exercise, it asks you if you felt like this was a good opportunity for you because it’s going to ask you, “Was this a good task for you? Are you glad you took this on, why or why not?” Answer accurately and honestly. Was your time estimate accurate? We really want to look and decide based off of this opportunity what we want to do in moving forward.
The key really is keeping in mind whether it’s worth your time and regardless of your paycheck, your time is valuable. I talk a lot about that bank analogy with time, that I treat time like a commodity. The value of your time fluctuates based off the time of day. During work hours, my work tasks are more valuable. After work
hours, my personal time has a lot more value. Just like we talked about before, we want to bank up time so it’s okay to say no to those things that don’t align because we want to back up the time so we can yes to the tasks that do feel good to us.
Keeping in mind what we said last time in our last episode, every time you say yes, you say no to something else. When you’re taking on these tasks, are you okay to say no to those other things? That is truest litmus test of all. I can tell you this: sometimes saying yes can feel amazing and it can truly validate you. I know this from personal experiences of being able to say yes to certain opportunities that felt really good and these are the things that honestly moved me forward closer to where I wanted to be. At the end of the day, it’s really important to listen to your gut, to listen to how these opportunities make you feel because that’s usually what’s reminding you to follow your priorities and I want to encourage you to focus on your why. It is the foundation for everything that you do.
I feel like we’ve talked about priorities for the last three episodes. We talked about setting your priorities. We talked about figuring out how to say no and what things we want to say no to and today, we focused on finding our yes and I’m really excited to see how you do with setting your priorities. I feel like when you start setting your priorities as priorities in your life, you’re going to find a lot more happiness and you’re going to feel so much more successful and content with your days. That is really what it’s all about for me and that is my end goal with this podcast.
I would love for you to connect with me. You can find me at inkwellpress.com or find me on social media. I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram using the username inkWELL Press. I’d love to have conversations there. I’d love for you to tag images of yourself going through these exercises using the hashtag Productivity Paradox because I think it’s important to keep this conversation going and to keep motivating you to keep your priorities in focus. I’m really excited about this. Okay, until next time. Happy planning.
**This transcript is created by AI, so please excuse any typos, misspellings and grammar mistakes.
Tanya Dalton is considered one of the best keynote speakers on the topic of productivity, time management and goals.