Saying Yes to the Wrong Things

Have you ever heard the saying, “If you want to get something done, ask a busy person”? People on the move are “do-ers.” If you ask them, they’ll say yes even if their plate is full. It’s a great skill to have because what can be accomplished by one person is remarkable! The people around you begin to set expectations higher for you and before you know it, your schedule is LOADED. Sound familiar?

I’ve been in just this situation for a while now. I’ve worked so hard to build a successful business and a well-balanced life with my husband and two children. It’s all too easy to take on too many responsibilities.

It’s a problem that I’ve faced in my own life as an entrepreneur. My saving grace is that I’ve become aware of when I stray so I can identify it and put myself back on course fairly quickly. The biggest trigger for me is how engaged my family is when I’m with them. If they are uninterested in talking to me, it’s usually because I’ve been absent physically and/or mentally for quite a while, and their perception is that I’m uninterested in them.

So, how do you find the right balance? If you remember only one thing from this article, remember this.


When you say YES to working late, you are saying NO to going home for a nice dinner and spending time with your family.

When you say NO to going to the gym, you’re saying YES to that extra 10 pounds.

When you say YES to starting your own business, you’re saying NO to being controlled by someone else’s plan.

Saying NO to happy hour with your friends means you are saying YES to mentoring a young student who values your knowledge.

Get the point? There is only so much time in a day, so every single time you say yes to one thing, you are saying no to another.

Here are some tips that should help you start saying YES to the things in your life that you value most:

  1. Pause // The next time someone asks you for a commitment, pause … and tell them you will get back to them. This will allow you time to consider other priorities that you would be neglecting if you choose to say YES to them.
  1. Be aware // I don’t think we always realize the impact of our actions. Every time you say YES to something outside your family, you are saying NO to your kids, spouse, or another important person in your life. I’m not suggesting you say NO to everything and stay home so you never have to say NO to your family again. I am merely suggesting you BE AWARE that if, for example, you always say YES to working late, you are saying NO to your family. That has serious impact on your family because, in their mind, you’ve made them your last priority.
  1. Take action // If you are determined to make changes and improve your life, you are going to need to dig deep and find the strength to tell people in your life that you’ll take a rain check, or that report will be finished one day later than you expected, or you can’t be head of the committee. Then take action with your life and use the time you opened up to do something wonderful for yourself and your family.
  1. Block out time // If you live and die by your calendar, then officially schedule time for yourself and your family. This way you give yourself permission to catch up, to go watch your kids practice, to take your spouse to dinner or to do whatever is important to you. Put it on the calendar, and then you’ll have a commitment you love!
  1. Practice saying no // Literally practice what you’re going to tell someone who asks for time that you can’t spare. If someone wants to see you the same afternoon you’ve already set aside for your kids’ practice, just say, “I’m sorry, I’m booked” or “I already have plans.”

You’re an amazing person, and you can accomplish so much. But remember, to stay amazing, you need to learn to say no.