Are you consciously opting in?

Action for Happiness is an organisation committed to building a happier and more caring society. They want to see a fundamentally different way of life – where people care less about what they can get just for themselves and more about the happiness of others. Their website offers many hints and tips on how to do this: one of which is their series of monthly calendars, all with a different theme: Mindful March, Joyful June, Altruistic August and so on. September is all about Self-Care and I was struck by the entry for Monday 10 September:

Give yourself permission to say ‘no’ to requests from others. Self care september

Give yourself permission to say ‘no’ to requests from others.

Earlier this year when the new GDPR came into force, most of us received a lot of emails asking us to confirm our mailing preferences. Rather than making an assumption based on our past behaviour, organisations asked us to confirm that we still wished to hear from them by actively opting in.

If you’re like me, you took this opportunity to ask yourself whether you still wanted to hear from these people. Maybe you’d signed up for a one-time special offer, a discount or a competition entry. Perhaps a cause had been relevant to you once but that was no longer the case. Maybe you’re receiving so many emails, you delete them without even opening them.

The fact that we had to decide whether or not to opt it to receiving emails gave us the chance to consider the appropriate course of action in our current circumstances.

A client – let’s call him David – is working his way up through his organisation. When we last spoke, he mentioned that he was feeling rather swamped with work – ‘I just don’t like to say no. I want to be seen as a ‘can do’ person.’

‘How’s that working out?’ I asked.

‘I feel like I’ve got too many plates spinning and that any minute now, one of them is going to drop. There’s a new project on the horizon that I’d love to be involved with – it’s so relevant to what I hope to do in the future – but I’m bogged down with this other stuff where, quite honestly, I’m not adding a great deal of value.’

David realised that he needed to actively opt in to projects at work rather than take everything on, no matter what. By taking time to consider where he could make the greatest contribution, which projects would give him the opportunity to develop new skills and experience, and whether there was someone else in the team better placed to fulfil a particular task, he could choose to opt in and be fully engaged. He gave himself permission to be more discerning about the requests made of him. He was clear with others about his current priorities, objectives and areas of focus and, where he wasn’t able to take on the task himself, helped them to find the right person.

Today’s pebble for you to consider: will you give yourself permission to say ‘no’ or ‘not yet’ to requests from others? Will you choose to actively opt in?


PS  I am actively opting in to a couple of weeks away from screens – I’ll be back here on the blog on 5 October.

Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching.

If you’d like a coach to help you succeed and make the most of your potential,
why not email me to see how we can work together?

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