Last night my friend reminded me: “No is the first word we learn and the first we forget.” So simple. Like the life I am trying to craft for myself in the midst of more, faster, bigger. Though not necessarily better. Turns out she and I share an intention to open more space in our lives for our personal writing. It also turns out we share a life orientation to service, stepping up and in to leadership. Not necessarily because we choose to but because there is a need that chooses us.
Which is where NO comes in. Another wise mentor has told me, more than once: “Just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean you NEED to.” This can be a challenging concept to someone with multiple interests, a deep reserve of goodwill and curiosity, boundless creativity and a desire to jump in when needed. Equally challenging is taking a moment to step back, reflect and ask: “Is this how I really want to spend my time? Is this going to serve my best interests and therefore those of the call to which I am responding?”
For some, this fine line of discernment runs the risk of sounding self-absorbed, reluctant, or possibly lazy. However, there comes a time when a simple “NO!” may be the best service you can perform. In setting the boundary on too much, you get to live with enough. And enough is the abundance required for a truly giving life – one that gives first to the self and secondly, to others. A lesson gratefully learned in a circle of wise wording women.