WHAT IS SOMETHING PEOPLE WITH BURNOUT HAVE IN COMMON?
CAN PEOPLE HEADING TOWARD A BURNOUT SAY NO?
YOU guessed it: no. People who burnout can’t say no.
Do you have trouble saying no?
Do you have an urge to meet or surpass others’ expectations around you, even at the expense of your stress and energy levels?
When was the last time you said no?
Did you go through a ‘no stage’ during your teenage years so you could learn how to say no? Did it feel safer or more comfortable to make other people happy, even it didn’t make you happy? This pattern can become internalized.
Saying no is difficult for most people, but it is near impossible for people heading towards burnout. We are biologically wired to seek out the approval and acceptance of others. It makes us feel safe.
After all, if we were pushed out of a community back in the day, we would have starved, been attacked by wild animals, or died of loneliness.
Your past experiences and the life story you tell yourself in your head also influence your ability to say no, and it is at an unconscious level. If you weren’t allowed to say no growing up or didn’t feel safe saying no, then it may feel impossible to say no now.
BURNOUT AND THE POWER OF NO
The problem with not being able to say no is that certain people quickly take you for granted. You can become the person who always takes on the extra work from sick co-workers, or the extra shift, or bakes the cookies for the school or church bake sale.
You’re the neighbor that everyone asks when they go out of town to tend their garden and take in the mail. Your family has you running every which way to help them out and fulfill their desires.
If there is plenty of praise and gratitude coming your way from all your yeses, then it can become addictive to please everyone, even at the cost of your well-being and health. And you can last for months, years, even decades without going into a full burnout.
It’s a long, slow slide in many cases into being burn out. It doesn’t happen overnight; there are other factors involved in addition to yes-saying, which is why burnout can be so confusing.
If you are a yes-addict, my challenge to you is to say what Eckhart Tolle calls a ‘high-quality no’ this week.
PREVENTING BURNOUT STEP: THE HIGH QUALITY NO
STEP 1: Write down 3-5 of your fundamental values and make them concrete.
Example: I am a loving mother = I bake with my daughter every Saturday afternoon. I am strong, flexible, and fit = I run and do yoga for an hour three mornings a week. I am kicking ass at my work = I invest thirty minutes a day into reading or taking a course to advance my knowledge/skills. Do not skip this step. It is cRUCial.
STEP 2: Wait until someone asks you something, check-in with your energy levels, and your value sheet. Then say, ‘thank you so much for asking me, but no.” That’s it.
You will feel an urge to say WHY you need to say no, which is why you have your value list. You KNOW you can’t say yes, because you won’t be able to get done the things you VALUE MOST.
But you do NOT need to tell the person that. You can just. Say. No. And thank you for asking me! With a smile. Okay- so, if a family member is asking you, like your daughter, you need to explain why. Strangers? Your co-worker? The school committee? They do not.
By saying a high quality no more often, you’ll start feeling amazing all those times you say YES.
Wishing you inner strength and serenity, Heather
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Looking forward to seeing you face to face.
I’m so excited to hop on a call with you and chat about how to transform your energy levels and vitality! – Heather
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