A few months ago I submitted an article to a larger website; I knew that the editor would have me do a little work on it because that’s how that works. She asked to expand upon the piece I had sent in. I expanded but it felt like a lot of fluff and unnecessary words; I’m more of a get to the point and not add fiiller in type of gal. Regardless, I sent the draft back. When the editor got back to me this next time she suggested that I change the sentence structure and tone. When I was finished it was no longer me; I felt it was disingenuous and generic. Having reservations, I sent it back. By the time the editor emailed me back after this structure change draft and I was thoroughly over the whole thing; bored with a piece that was no longer true to my personality or brand. I thanked the site for their time and consideration and backed away from the article.
Knowing when to say no and back away from a situation is a hard lesson to learn.
It can seem like your giving up or quiting. There is a fine line between quitting because you don’t want to do something and stepping away because what you have been asked to do doesn’t align with your values.
It’s easy to get sucked into commitments. To find yourself saying yes to everything that comes your way, whether you’re passionate about or not. I have experienced my fair share of YES YES YES! Then, in the throes of the “yessing,” I have realized that I’m not passionate or as committed to the task that I should be. Or that the project doesn’t align with my brand or boundaries. The project gets completed but in the midsts of the project it throws my spirit out of alignment and ultimately; makes me unhappy.
In my example of the article; I stepped away because the finished product wouldn’t have accurately portrayed my brand. It doesn’t matter how big the website was or how cool it would have been to be featured, I would have felt fake. The voice in the article was not my voice.
There are a couple of strategies that I utilize to avoid committing to something that doesn’t align with my brand:
- Have clear, defined boundaries.
- Don’t commit to something without thinking it through.
Having clear boundaries allows me to look at an opportunity and know quickly if it aligns with my brand and ultimately my values. However, by taking time to think through an offer before I commit I am able to decide if I have the time and energy to put into another project. Most of the time, if I really and truly want to follow through with the opportunity I’ll make it work. But Sometimes, depending on the season, I just can’t do it. I have learned enough to know that no matter how bad I want to participate in something in the fall, work probably isn’t going to allow the extra time!
Another benefit of not saying yes or no right off the bat is: The opportunity might be something that I never thought could be a possibility; in that case thinking it over thoroughly could allow me to expand my boundaries!
Staying true to yourself is one of the most important lessons to be learned in this life. At the end of the day all we have is our integrity. Once your integrity has been compromised it’s hard to regain. Define boundaries, set intentions, and use your intuition. Your gut is never wrong,