Let’s Say Yes As Much As We Say No

I recently joined a book club, and the first book we are reading together is Year of Yes: how to dance it out, stand in the sun and be your own person, by Shonda Rhimes. I personally have a love/hate relationship with Shonda. I still have not forgiven her for killing George, but this is something we will address in therapy. So far, Shonda is very relatable. And I am learning a lot from her. In her book, she explains how saying yes for a whole year was uncomfortable but, in the end, exhilarating.

I can relate because I recently changed careers. And as my first decision in this new environment, I became over-committed to my job. I said yes to all activities and commitments and invitations extended to me for a full year. I believed that was the way to learn – and I did. I know the ins and outs of the work and I can talk about the organization, my programs and the work we do with confidence.

However, this is a new year, and we will reroute a bit. 

Because as it turns out, saying yes all the time can be a bad thing.

You see, when you find something you are passionate about, you don’t feel you are straining yourself, you just keep going. Until you notice your plate is full. And you have 250 plates spinning on thin sticks. And you are in the circus of your life. And the audience is harsh and has rotten tomatoes in Walmart bags with your name on it.

I noticed my plate was full when I was too tired and forgetful. When I started making small mistakes that were costing me a lot of time to redo, review, go back, review the reviewed and seriously, who has time for that?

That’s when I started pondering all the lessons on time management I had so far.

I don’t quite believe in time management.

(Pause for gasp.)

Breathe in.

Carol does not what now?

That’s right, I DON’T believe in time management. Instead, I believe you manage yourself to use time properly.

This may be a new concept, but it can be used to anything in life.

Let’s say you want to save for a vacation, and don’t want to use credit cards for any purchase.

We usually struggle with estimating how long things take. We underestimate how long things will take – and often by a lot. So, when we think our plates are full, they are likely overflowing because we think we will save $100 per week, when we need to save $250. Which means, on this pace, the time we will need to achieve this goal is not by the end of this year, but the end of next year.

This includes vacation time that you will need to carve to enjoy the vacation itself and rest, instead of surviving this time off, hyperventilating with anxiety for all the bills and extra debt by the end of the period.

That’s why budgeting is key.

When we started budgeting as a family, we would establish our purpose for the period.

We had $85,000 in debt (without our house), to be paid off in 3 years.

During this time, we were very frugal and intentional with our purchases. And here, allow me to add, we would have fun, but instead of going to an overpriced session in the movie theater, we would get one movie in the Redbox and watch at home.

We would manage ourselves to achieve the goal in the timeline we agreed. And changing mindset was HARD.

We were able to get this project done, but a bit delayed because I got pregnant with my daughter.

That’s another point I want to stress. Timelines are good to keep you on track, but life happens, and pivoting must be an extra tab in the plan. Your internal Ross must be on with you at all times.

We followed Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover plan. These are the 7 Baby Steps:

If you feel you can read the book and work on the steps by yourself, go for it!

If not, there are classes in town that provide guidance and a support group, and they are fantastic!

This year, I am comfortable enough to say no to certain activities that don’t align with my initial purpose. My advice to you is don’t wait till your plate is full to start saying no. Protect your sanity and your current commitments by starting your no when you are about 70% full (and still, for the things you have control over – such as yourself, and your behavior).

Say yes when you are excited about it!

I testify it is NOT easy. BUT IT WORKS.

No, Dave Ramsey is not paying me to say that. He has no clue who I am by the way. But it worked for my family. It brought clarity, it made my husband and I one in purpose. We were so proud of every single dollar saved! Every debt paid!

I invite you to assess your finances and invest in working hard for you in this new year.

It is worth it!

If you need someone to talk about it, we are here for you!

See you next time!


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