No is a Muscle

We all hate to hear the word No. In fact some of us hate it so much that we can’t even say it. Instead, we say Yes and then regret it later. We tell ourselves that “next time will be different.: Or, we “just got to get through this and then it’ll be fine.” Or worse…”people won’t like me if I say No.”

Toddlers have zero trouble with saying No.  They latch on to it and say it over and over again. As teenagers we have zero trouble telling our parents No. But somewhere post the terrible two’s and puberty we lose our ability to mouth the word out loud.

Sure, we say it in our brain. We say it to ourselves. We tell ourselves no so much that we do anything for everyone and almost nothing for ourselves. Then we are left feeling battered, beat and lost.

 As a Pilates instructor I typically only make money when I say yes to teaching a client. Anytime I say no or “I can’t” (a no phrase), I am basically saying no to money–That’s a pretty powerful no! When I first became and instructor I would say “yes” a lot. I was teaching super early in the morning. I was teaching late at night. I had a schedule that looked like a block of swiss cheese. That lasted about a few weeks maybe a month until I realized that if I wanted to continue my dreams as an instructor, Rock my bliss, I had to start exercising my no muscle.

I was listening to an episode of Danielle Laporte and Linda Sivertsen‘s podcast. They were interviewing an author. She talked about saying no. In fact she said “No, is a muscle.” In my brain as soon as I hear muscle I think 1) You must work it out to strengthen it 2) You must use it! Because if you don’t use it you lose it. The “it” in that sentence is you, and your desires.


Danielle and Linda asked her how she strengthened her No muscle. Her response was something we all can relate to. She was afraid to say no because she was afraid people wouldn’t like her. When asked what happened when she said no, she responded “people were upset and didn’t like it.” Then she said, what I think is the most important benefit of a strong No muscle: “By saying no to them I had more time to do the things that were important to me.” When you say no to something or someone you are leaving a space, time and energy to say Yes to YOU!

We don’t have endless hours in a day. We don’t have endless energies. I am not saying practice saying no to any request that comes your way. However, it’s time to dust that word off. Practice in front of a mirror if you have to.


Wondering when to say No and when to say Yes? Here’s a checklist for you to try out. You may even add to it:

  • Is this request taking time away from my dreams?
  • Will this task teach me something that is in line with my desires?
  • Am I truly helping them by doing this for them? Or, would it be better if they asked someone else who truly cared about their desires as much as they do?
  • Will I regret saying Yes?

You don’t have to just say No and run away. You can say “I cannot do ____ but try so and so or such and such. I think you’ll see that’s a better match.” In life, you will have to say no from time to time. Make sure that you’re not saying No to the person who matters most: YOU.

xx~LL

 

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Is There Merit in Laziness?

I was at work a few weeks ago, and I heard a co-worker quote Bill Gates: “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”

 

I’m having a hard time with this one. I’m not lazy. I’m an over-thinker, overachiever,  exuberant bundle of knowledge and positivity. No I’m not writing out my hedgehog for Danielle Laporte… Well. Though it’s kinda where this started…

Wait, let me start at the beginning. I’m an actor in New York City, which means in any given week, I work up to five different jobs, plus my free time is spent looking up auditions or going to plays.  I’ve never been a lazy person.  I started babysitting when I was 13, and had a job ever since. When given a task to do, I want to get it done. I do work first and have fun second–in fact, I usually can’t have fun or even relax if there are unfinished things to do. I’m not so crazy that I’ll get up and scrub the kitchen sink in the middle of the night, but if I’m in bed and I’ve forgotten to do something or get a grand idea, I get up and do it, or write myself a note for tomorrow.
Downtime is a thing I cherish. I love some of my TV shows and I’ll make time to sit and watch them. I love reading and I try to find time to read each day. I understand the desire to relax and do the “wants” in life and not the “needs.”  Believe me, I would much rather watch The Blacklist, rehearse plays, and sit around drinking coffee with my friends.
I’m always looking to entertain, be entertained, enlighten, or be enlightened.
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But lazy…let’s discuss this. Lazy people, if we use Bill Gates’s definition, will get things done faster because they want down time. They will find the most direct solution.
Lazy people make time for themselves. They take down time. They sleep. They relax.
Lazy people lay awake at night and don’t worry about being the best because it requires too much work. However, they will do just enough to get by.
Lazy people figure out how to get other people to do their work for them because they don’t make the effort. Thereby they free up their time to do what they want.
Lazy people almost always own up to being lazy.  And they don’t care that others call them that.
So, to all my overachievers, here are the lessons you should take from The Lazies.
1) Find the direct way to do something. There might be a better way, but sometimes you just need to finish. If you have time, you can go back and tweak and polish.
2) Take downtime. You NEED to sleep. You need to decompress. The more time you allow yourself to relax, the heather and more alert you will be.
3) Stop with the stress. I read something recently that said Worry means you’re thinking about the future. depression means you’re
Thinking about the past. Stop doing both and live in the moment. Tomorrow will get here whether you worry about it or not.
4) Delegate or ask for help if you can’t do something. Someone else can take care of that task if you can’t. Sometimes just the act of asking for assistance allieviates some of the stress.
5) Own what you are. I’m a busy driven woman who will make time for TV–it’s what I choose. Deal with it.
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I’m still not convinced that lazy people have it all right, but there is
some merit behind the behaviors of the lazy. (Now stop reading and procrastinating and go do something productive.)
Clare
 (And if you’re wondering… the lazy baby picture–that’s me.)
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Your Greatest Mistake?

What was it? What mistake was your greatest? The biggest, best mistake ever?!

As you may know from some previous blogs I am a podcast lover. I really enjoy listening.  Mostly I listen to other authors podcasts.  I wish I had more time to read but I don’t… so, I listen to their podcasts and then if I find myself say YAAS!!! High fiving the air, I buy their books.

On a recent podcast I heard the interviewer ask the author: what was your greatest mistake? What was you best mistake?  As someone who lives without regrets I have to admit I was caught off guard.  I didn’t understand why anyone would want to think of their lives and highlighting mistakes. But, then I got to thinking about all of my “mistakes.”  I thought about the stupid boys I dated.  The jobs I have had.  Not saying yes to some experience,  or saying no to someone.  Then I thought about where I am today.  I realized I had some great mistakes.  I have had some of the best mistakes ever–I am so happy I have had them.

Let me explain, I believe everything happens for a reason.  Not that anyone of us deserves bad things to happen, but that sometimes things that feel bad, seem bad, or just are bad are part of our path to greatness.


When I left my ex, it sucked.  I felt terrible for hurting him. I struggled financially, emotionally.  I questioned for a bit whether or not it was the right decision.  In the healing process I thought about the “Red Flags” of our relationship. I didn’t want to repeat my past.  I realized that had I said no to one of the dates in the beginning, had I dated others had I stopped things when my gut said to.  We probably wouldn’t have made it 5 years. We wouldn’t have probably made it past a few months.

But, if I hadn’t dated him I would not have learned what I know now about myself.  I wouldn’t have written my first book most likely.  I wouldn’t have known what I need out of a relationship. I wouldn’t have been prepared to meet the man I was meant to marry.

So, one of my greatest mistakes were all the bad dates I went on that got me here today.   Had I not had all those I would never have realized true love, true romance, true teamwork and true partnership.   Who would think that thousands of bad dates, and a perfect-on-paper relationship would lead to a happy marriage to someone else, a book, and many other successes, including this blog?!?

You may be sitting here, reading this and saying “Lesley! I am in a huge issue now. This could be the biggest mistake of my life. It doesn’t feel good. ” Like I said before, it didn’t feel good after all the bad dates. I truly wish I could go back to my twenty something self and tell her “this is going to suck at the end. But there will be a pot of partnership gold at then end of the storm.” Oh, how I wish! Sadly, readers, we don’t get that. We can’t take our future selves to our present selves and tell them “Everything will be ok.”


We can trust, though. Trust ourselves. Trust the Universe. Today prepares us for tomorrow, next year and fifty plus years from now. If you are feeling like you are in the worst mistake ever and you don’t know what to do. Here are some tips for you:

  • Don’t make any decisions right away. Get your breath back to normal.
  • Tell yourself how much you Love yourself, trust yourself and want and deserve nothing but the best for yourself.
  • Remind yourself you are being molded for the future. You are growing. Growth spurts don’t feel great while they are happening. But when you’re “taller” you can see the bigger picture.

  • Journal. Write and write and write. The first half will be your brain the second half will be God.
  • Get grounded! Lay on the ground. Put heavy blankets on top of you. Eat heavy foods (yes, I am saying to eat heavy foods) warm and heavy foods. Drink hot fluids. You need to feel whole and warm and soothed.
  • Just Keep Swimming. It’ll all make sense one day. That day isn’t today. Lucky you, you don’t have to have the answers now.

This brings me back to the beginning, what was your greatest, best mistake? Share them with us and our readers. The beauty about life is we are not alone. Your story can help so many others grow!

Xx~LL

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