Category Archives: Body & Spirit

Just Say No!

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The popular three-line statement after which this Blog is named was born out of former first lady Nancy Reagan’s passion for discouraging children from experimenting with drugs. Since then, however, “Just Say No” has taken on considerable popularity in an untold number of venues. From credit cards to relationships to the foods we eat, “Just Say No” is a household term that has gained and maintained significant notoriety around the power and importance of saying no. Just googling this simple phrase led me to a website of the same name that is self-described as the “No Community across social platforms.” In short, wherever you find strung together these three one syllable words they are meant to encourage you to say no – where and when appropriate for you.

In reality, however, it is not as easy as it sounds. As I look around the world, I am constantly baffled at how difficult it is for some (including me at times) to say no while others find NO something they deliver with ease. I was reminded of this fact during a conversation with a friend this week wherein she said, “I am amazed at how it is so easy for me to say No to me and yet so difficult to say No to others.” Of course, her statement got me to thinking about the reality of how difficult it is for many to say no – even when it is in their best interest to do so. Whether it is saying no to a family member, friend, employer or client; an organization whose cause we love, or a solicitor who sends an email promising the world in exchange for little or nothing, saying no is a healthy essential in life that allows us to maintain balance and boundaries. It is often said – saying no is easier for men than women; but I dare not tackle that subject in this short blog. My goal is to encourage ALL of us around the growth that is achieved when we learn to give and receive the necessary – No.

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This thought provoking conversation with my friend prompted me to think about how the inability to say no is often associated with an “addiction.” And here I use the term loosely as I am aware the word addicted has its own set of issues and can trigger all types of responses. But hear me out before you hit close and stop reading. I suggest it is possible many have trouble saying no because perhaps we have become a world that is addicted to saying yes. While addicted often points to substance abuse, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary and other sources I referenced, addiction is “to devote or surrender to something habitually,” or as another source recorded – “enthusiastically devoted to a particular thing or activity.” The truth is, we find it difficult to say no for a variety of reasons including guilt, pressure from others, co-dependency (a term used by my psychologist friends), threats both perceived and real, and of course our habitual “friend” – fear. And fear, I argue is what keeps us addicted to saying yes. That is, we are often afraid of the outcome if we do not say yes.

But consider the following: In life, we must find balance where we are able to say no to some things so that we can partake in self-care, self-development, and yes self-actualization. If you always say yes to everyone else and what everyone else needs, it is almost a surety you are saying no to yourself on matters that really matter and particularly matters that make you better for achieving what you were born to accomplish. So today, I encourage you to learn the art of saying No, as it is often in the best interest of not only you, but also the person to which you are struggling to say no. If it is a “thing” to which you cannot say no like too much stress or eating too much of the wrong things, you would be surprised the sense of freedom you feel after just the first time of saying No.

So I offer you this “Call to Action.” In the upcoming week, take courage to confront fear by saying No to something you have struggled to say No to and experience a new sense of freedom. Take that newly found freedom and allow it to help you begin to establish healthy boundaries for when you say yes and when it is absolutely OK (in your best interest) to “Just Say No.”

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Until next week, Best Wishes on the Journey – Dr. G

Copyright © 2015 Geneace Williams

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Courage Over Comfort!

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Last week I challenged you to “Fuel Your Passion” by setting an intention that is aligned with what you desire to achieve in life.  That intention, I suggested, must be turned into action steps to move you in the direction of your life’s purpose.  Since last week, I hope you have given yourself permission and time to think about you, as you cannot effectively help others until first you have “tended to self.”

Interestingly, when I sat down to think about what I would share this week, I thought about a quote that is near and dear to me – one that inspires me every time I read it, hear it repeated, or just think of it.  “The Possibility of Extraordinary Begins at the Edge of Comfort.”  Thinking of this quote led me back to the pages of my first book and a discussion about comfort versus courage.   Anyone can walk in comfort, but courage requires an entirely different mindset.  Consider the process of learning to swim.  “In swimming, the instructor starts his student in the shallow end.  The shallow end experience is meant to help the student become less fearful of the unknown, more knowledgeable and comfortable in the water, and at ease with swimming technique.  In essence, a student’s time in the shallow end is designed to teach an important how-to lesson while simultaneously minimizing fear of launching into the deep.  The shallow water is akin to ‘easy’ because a swimmer can reduce risk and difficulty by simply changing his position to a stand.”

“In life, just as in swimming, there are those who have not allowed themselves the gift of release from shallow water thinking.  Shallow water thinking limits one’s imagination.  It prevents you from moving beyond what is comfortable.  It tempts you to continue with things that offer little challenge and stimulus for growth.  It leaves room for fear and doubt and edges out courage.  In fact, it discourages you from pushing yourself to the next level of performance.  It disavows you of faith and champion thinking and certainly limits your ability to accomplish what is beyond your immediate reach.”  Shallow water is the place of comfort, and your time there should be limited and temporary.  It is more than probable an impediment to achieving purpose.  But courage challenges you to release shallow and comfort because the greatest things in life happen outside your comfort zone.

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Today I encourage you to move beyond the familiar and take a step toward the unfamiliar.  Move in the direction of something that is much larger than you – something that challenges you to dig deeper.  There is much more inside of you than you know.  Take a deep breath and march right up to the edge of your comfort zone and let go as if you are approaching the edge of a cliff prepared to jump.  Don’t be tempted to allow fear to talk you into remaining in comfort.  The parachute of life is bound to open.  And there the real work begins…

Quoted material taken from: Leadership DASH: Breaking Through the Finish Line

 Copyright © 2015 Geneace Williams