Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Using The Magic Word...And It Is Not Please.

Over the years I have struggled with the word no.  I have gotten better as I have gotten older (and wiser??), but it is a still a word that sits on my tongue before spitting it out.  There are exceptions here – “Mom, can we put a bowling alley in our house?” No.  “Mom, can I have another cookie?” No.  Those are the easy ones.  Yet, whether it is in my family, personal, or work life, I would always prefer to please others, despite potential hardship it might cause me.  A personality flaw?  Maybe…at times it certainly proves to be. 
Over the last few weeks, I have been mulling over the idea that if you have clear goals in mind for where you are going and where you want to be, saying no may become easier.  If the decision doesn’t help you accomplish the goals you have pre-set for yourself or your family, then a simple “No” is in order.  Makes sense...right?  Of course, things are not always that easy.
Saying yes at times in my life has certainly brought me many happy things, even when it wasn’t my first choice.  For example, taking a work trip when it was tough to leave the kids, but it helped advance my career…a tough yes, but probably a good judgment call.  Having to stay up really late to bake dozens of specially decorated cookies for preschool class…worth it every time when Myles is excited about his friends liking the snack.  These examples of times when I said yes, but wanted to stay no, still may fit somewhere into my pre-set goal test.
So, if I set a few goals for the different aspect of my life, different decisions may fall into different categories, but I still may be able to apply a goal test.
So…we need some goals.  Here are a few of mine.
  • To raise my children to be thoughtful, caring, and responsible young people.
  • To maintain a mutually loving, respectful, and fun relationship with my husband.
  • To maintain / advance my career.
  • To be a good example to my children.
  • To do something for myself once in a while (to help accomplish the above goals with a smile).
Not rocket-science, right?  So, if a big decision doesn’t coincide with advancing one of these goals, a NO might be in order. 
It is when a decision conflicts with two goals that I really need to weigh out the decision, right?  Different situations may even cause prioritization of the goals.  As a working mom, it is the dynamic of balancing the goals pertaining to the kiddos and the career goals that get me every time.  Want to get real complex?  How about throwing in the goals of my husband and his individual career goals? 
I guess it is oversimplifying to think that a simple goal test will help make these tough life decisions.  I’m hoping that at least defining these goals and thinking through the tough decisions with a pre-set filter, I will have less sleepless nights making some of those tough calls… 

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