I said “no” and it was all okay.
Recently, I stepped back from a commitment. I’d thought about it for a few months but I kept plugging away because I’m not great at stepping back–I’m a step forward kinda girl.
After a while I realized that not only was I doing myself harm by not backing down but I was also doing the opposite of a good volunteer and I was actually hurting the organization. I wasn’t fulfilling my end of the bargain.
It all felt like an obligation. Life has too many obligations that we should not be in the business of adding more of the “o” word to our plate. I want to want to do everything that I commit my time to in this world. I want all my “extra” in life to feel like an opportunity or a privilege. I don’t want it to be painful. When I fail to prioritize something time and time again, that is a clear indication that I need to let it go. Please don’t start singing that song from Frozen. I actually am the only person in the world who doesn’t get the obsession with the song or the movie.
It hurt to write my goodbye emails but it also lifted an extremely large burden off my shoulders. Now, I don’t have to feel bad about not wanting to do it and then actually not doing it.
It is my opinion that organizations would rather have a clear “no” than a weak and noncommittal “yes”.
Don’t worry about being perceived as a “quitter” and don’t walk around thinking that the organization will fail if you walk away. Everyone in an organization should be replaceable. If not, it has bigger problems than you no longer wanting to be involved. Walking away doesn’t mean that you don’t care about the cause and in most cases, it doesn’t mean that you can’t ever be involved again at a later time. All it means is that you are taking the opportunity to take care of yourself —own that moment and honor it.
Look at your plate. Is there an item or item(s) on it that you need to bow out of graciously? Think about your exit strategy.
Why are you backing away? Don’t think about this too deeply because it could be as simple as you just don’t want to do it anymore. Maybe you want to devote yourself to other activities. Maybe you became too involved too fast and need to examine whether or not this activity meets your overall vision and mission for your life.
Who do you need to tell that you’re taking a time out? The chair of the committee, president of the organization? Maybe you want to send private emails to those folks who you’ve developed relationships with that you don’t want to have hard feelings about your departure. You can still stay connected to these folks. No need to burn bridges. The world is tiny.
Is there any transition that you need to assist with upon your departure? Should you set up a meeting to pass along materials and engage in any knowledge transfer to keep this aspect of the organization stable and poised for success? Don’t just leave the organization high and dry. Also, make sure that you update any communications that have you listed as a member of the group such as your email signature, LinkedIn, business cards, and other social media profiles.
What does the conversation sound like when you communicate with others that you’re no longer involved? You don’t owe people an ounce of an explanation but it would be wise to not bad mouth people or the organization. Perhaps you can recommend others to get involved. Maybe you decide to still support on some level (fiscally, low key volunteer position, and social media promotion, etc.). Don’t be afraid to tell people that you needed to clean up your plate of life. Your freedom to admit and live your truth invites others to do the same.
Relax! Breathe it away and keep it moving. Think about how you’re going to use this extra space in your life. Maybe you just need to do nothing with it except binge watch a show on Netflix and make it to Barre class more than twice a week. Doesn’t that sound awesome?
If you’re anything like me than you are often the last person on your to-do list AND this right here, the art of stepping back, is helping you to move yourself up spot by spot until that one magical day when you find yourself in the #1 slot.
Say “no” or “goodbye” and watch how your life changes. I am living proof that you can say these words and it all be okay. If you need some help with saying no in a way that feels better to your heart and mind check out this list below:
I encourage you to say “no” today.
Thanks for reading.