So a couple of weeks ago I wrote my “No Balance for Me, Thank You!” blog post. I promised a follow up to address those of us who feel that we have life by the proverbial tiger’s tail. We feel we can do nothing more than hold on and we can’t even do that well!
I shared with the listeners to the Jory Fisher show recently that many years ago I was advised by a counselor to write down everything I did every minute of the day for three days. That exercise was a very rude awakening. I knew that I was busy, but I really did not have a handle on just how busy I was. When I was first realizing that I was really piling too much onto a too tiny plate, I have to say that I did feel like there were things being put on my plate by others over which I had little control.
Another wise influencer in my life, my life coach, told me some time later that I was wrong about that sense of things. I was doing exactly what I wanted to do. That stung a little. I had to come to the point where I realized that she was right. I was doing exactly what I wanted to do. It was a hard truth. It still is a hard truth.
You see, there was a secondary gain for me to be so busy. I feel like my secondary gain has something to do with being a people pleaser, not being able to say no because I do not want to let you down. The problem with that is when I say yes to everyone, I am destined to let many of you down! I had to at least be able to identify my secondary gain in order to be able to create the shift that scaled down my daily dairy.
Can you see that you also do exactly what you want to do? Even when what you are doing puts stress on you, overextends you, exhausts you, and so on? You are still doing exactly what you want to do! Once you get to the point where you are no longer experiencing benefit from your own personal secondary gain from doing what it is which is causing you pain, you will be able to initiate a meaningful shift in your behavior.
So how do you get to that point? I can only speak for myself, and for me it was to realize how my attempt to be a people pleaser was actually having the opposite impact. With the help of my life coach, I was able to understand that I could say no to things in a way which would really be doing the person asking a favor. She taught me a great phrase: “I really support your mission and your efforts and I want to help you wholeheartedly. If I were to say yes to your request of me, I know I would let you down. And I don’t want to let you down, so I am going to say no at this time.” This approach satisfied my secondary gain from saying yes to everything and it did not over commit me. I am living in peace with my schedule finally.