Learning the art of saying no

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Last week, I almost lost my mind. Between working, writing, starting my own business, training for a half marathon, being social and dating, I left no time for me. No time to rest and, well, no time to just be. I was stressed, agitated and absolutely doubting myself in every possible category of my life.

I knew better, but I couldn’t help myself. I was exhausted and that’s usually when the negative thoughts start creeping into my mind. Am I good enough for anything, anyone, any project, etc.? I couldn’t turn off the doubt.

These questions were haunting me. Luckily, I voiced what was going through my mind to my Mom and close friends. Everyone of them, very lovingly of course, told me to get a grip. One friend actually took an almost Jillian Michaels approach of telling (yelling at) me to snap out of it. It was definitely an affective approach.

The piece of advice everyone seemed to give me was to reprioritize and to take time for myself. Up until a few months ago, I had been busy, but not at the level that I am now.


Earlier this year I made the decision to pursue my dreams and my passions. One of those pursuits was to start writing (thanks, Charlotte Agenda). This love of writing made me reevaluate my career path and I decided to start my own business. I’m confident in my business plan and in myself, but it takes a lot of work to start a business. In addition to my business, I was fretting over making time for the people in my life, my day job, training and working out, and attending various events. To say I was overwhelmed was an understatement.

Not one for making lists, I had been flying by the seat of my pants. I was trying to get everything done, but I wasn’t being strategic about anything.

In the past few days, I’ve started making lists and prioritizing projects. I’ve said no to events and friends, and shockingly, no one has been angry with me. We all have things going on in our lives and sometimes, we can’t do everything or be everywhere at once. No one, no matter how hard we try, is Superman or Wonder Woman.

I was reminded that one of the most important things in life is to be present. If you, or I, are rushing through our days, weeks, months, basically our lives, we won’t truly enjoy ourselves. It will all be one big blur. Sometimes we will have to say no to things, and that’s okay. I’d rather have the fear of missing out than the experience of being exhausted and overwhelmed.

Am I saying this will be the last time I have feelings of self doubt? Absolutely not. I have been reminded that I need to make time for myself. Sometimes the art of saying no, isn’t really an art, it’s a choice to give yourself a moment to recharge.

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Erin Maddrey
| @ErinMaddrey |
Marketing professional and freelance writer who strives to live, to love, and to work fearlessly.