In the very few moments when I wasn’t working this year, I was thinking about working better. I got in over my head by saying yes to all work that came my way. Why did I say yes? Saying yes was my lifeline out of pandemic limbo. It combined with my life training not to say no (as that’s not nice) and my business training where you don’t refuse jobs when you don’t know if you will ever get work again.
Life conditions us to say yes in so many ways.
Say yes, as we are biologically conditioned to say yes, and build a supportive community while being protected from the people who may want to harm. This year, I learned just how biologically wired I am to say yes. This year, I added a new word, fawn, to the expression freeze, fight or flight. Who knew? Not me! Now that I know, I have more insight into why when someone threatens me, I smile pleasantly in return.
Say yes to growing a business, so my family and I are supported. When I started out with my business, I said yes to all work – I was grateful (and still am) that people will pay me to do work that I enjoy doing. I had a lot of spare time when I started my business (and not much paid work!). I became conditioned to say yes, and I have always assumed I have the time to do that work. It is human nature to overestimate the time we have to do things, and apparently, I’m no different.
Say yes to people and help them when they need it – if I don’t say yes to help people live the way I truly believe will help them live a better life, who will? When I went through my separation and subsequent divorce, I was fortunate to find a lawyer who was the perfect fit. Then, fate paired me with a life coach who helped me get back to living with hope. I had friends who were not so lucky – they went down the path of litigation and fear in their separation process. I could not bear the thought of families being harmed because they talked to the wrong professional. Yes, my one-woman mission to save the world! Yes!
Say yes for a reason to put one foot forward in front of the other. Work = Life Purpose. Did I mention pandemic limbo? It is often easier to say yes than stare life in the face. And living in the world was very hard in 2020. There was so much sadness and terrible happenings in the world. I often wondered what the point to life was and I did not like sitting with those uncomfortable thoughts. So, I said yes. I could distract myself and help the world all at the same time.
It is simply easier to say yes. By saying yes, I could slot potential clients into my available and understood system instead of thinking of a different way to help. Automatic Pilot, anyone?
Whenever someone asked for help, my brain would quickly process the request and “yes” won out every time.
After experimenting with saying yes this past year, I know that helping as many people as possible is not the right approach. I am finally putting the arguments for yes to rest.
Saying yes does not build a community if I am not doing the work that my clients need. My approach is not for everyone. I need to articulate better what I do so people can decide if the help I’m offering is for them. Ironically, one of the mantras I advise my clients to adopt is “slow and steady.” Yet, I was not following my own advice. Conflict is exacerbated at high speed, and friction arises when processes are unclear. By saying yes without all parties understanding what was said, conflict happens at high speed, resulting in a more brutal impact. It may be easier to say yes at the moment the person is asking for help. Still, without a clear understanding of what everyone is saying yes to, it’s always harder than if I had said no.
I continue to support my family financially. I should not let fear drive my life. I advise my clients not to fear, yet I am hypocritically succumbing to fear when making decisions.
Suppose I continue to say yes because I don’t know another professional who can support clients like I think they need to be supported. In that case, I am saying no to a separation process that can support additional families. I am just one person and trying to do it all myself is not sustainable. I need to say yes to finding more professionals who work to support families to have a better separation. I can’t find others like me if I’m head down buried in work.
This past year I’ve continued my search for the meaning of life. I’ve read enough (for now). I’m here for however long the fates decide, but I know I’m here for a reason. I no longer need to prove my worth by achieving more.
So, when will I say yes? It’s getting clearer, though I will likely continue to say yes when I should sometimes say no, in an ideal world, I will say yes when potential clients hire me for the following reason:
To help them understand their financial situation right now and what their potential financial lives look like post-separation.