Blending fitness and real life.

In my writing, that’s what I try to do.

And to be honest, it’s usually not that hard.

There are A LOT of parallels.

Which leads into the topic of this post.

So, here we go.

My name’s Matt, and I’m a recovering people pleaser.

I think a lot of us are.

I have a ridiculously hard time saying “no,” and I have spent an equally ridiculous amount of time pondering why this is.

And I believe, for me, it comes down to this.

I have a responsibility to several groups of people.

  1. My kids
  2. My wife
  3. My business
  4. My co-workers
  5. My family
  6. My friends
  7. My community
  8. My workout/ hobbies/ free time

You say “no” to your own needs when you say “yes” to everyone else’s.

And they are equally as entitled to every minute of my time.

At least that’s how I’ve been handling it.

Almost a first come , first serve all you can eat buffet of my time.

And if anyone leaves the buffet hungry, OR I think they may be hungry, I get that heavy, hard-to-shake, ruin your day guilt.

The problem with that is that the world has a voracious appetite.

As soon as one is full (for a brief time) the next one is in line for seconds.

It’s a never ending story that guarantees you will not be able to focus on what is most important to YOU.

The underlying problem?

When you say yes, you are specifically saying no to something else. There is never enough of your time to feed the masses until satiety.

Forget feeding tour own needs.

So you toil in a futile task, putting your resources in directions that are distant from the things that are your priorities.

The scary part of this lies in ACTUALLY knowing what YOU really want. When you’ve walked a long road of other people’s desires, you end up in a place far away from yours.

If you’ve been doing this for a long time, it’s actually pretty tough to even come up with the specific desires that are YOURS anymore.

Try it. It’s a bit frightening.

This is not a new topic. There has been dozens of books, blogs and podcasts that have touched in this problem.

The answer for me so far hasn’t really been an answer. It’s been a baby step in the right direction.

I’ve prioritized a couple of things in a long list and have made them absolutes.

Attending my kids sporting events and saying “yes” every single time one of my kids asks me to play in the yard.

There is no question when it comes to these two things. There is no gray area here.

And I’ve THOUGHT ABOUT a game plan for the rest of the list.

  1. I try not to say “yes” as soon as I’m asked, instead opting to consider my time when I have time to think about it.
  2. Boundary setting with the folks who repeatedly request my time. (Hard for me)
  3. An understanding that once I get some reps of “no” under my belt, it will become easier.
  4. Have a list of priorities that I personally benefit from and stick to those first (workout, time to read, yard work, etc.)

Understanding what’s happening is easy.

Implementing a plan to change it is hard.

Again, like anything, being artful with your “no” comes with practice and dedication to a game plan.

If you’ve had success, let me know what has worked for you.

“It’s only by saying “no” that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.”

-Steve Jobs

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS