With a Treat for Respecting Your Own Boundaries …
For so many decades, even the most challenging of my jobs included the resulting buffer from essentially non-negotiable duties and schedule demands it’s an employer’s role to require of us. Working as a head chef with round-the clock responsibilities, everything always had to rotate around that commitment. So both my personal and social life opportunities all had to show up at the given restaurant, and then at the end of each long day blurring into night, I’d just go home to shower, sleep a few hours, put on clean clothes and return to work again. And, of course, restaurants also often make a point of being open on holidays to help customers celebrate the occasion with greater ease and festivity, so that’s definitely not a guaranteed time off for staff members. It’s all part of the deal, and so obvious that you’re always at work, people typically neither hound nor honor you with additional requests. They quite rightly assume you just can’t, so they don’t even think to ask. In fact, I always wondered what people who worked at or from home did all day with so much imagined free time and choices available. Now I know. It’s never easy. (“No, no, no, I really can’t!”)
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Why is it that both we and other people are less likely to respect the limits in schedules we make for ourselves, as unconditionally as we would ones imposed upon us by an employer? Does it just come down to the power of a paycheck and/or that automatically validated excuse working for someone else quite naturally provides? Most of us don’t want to seem like the bad guy, and at least traditionally, the instinctive and culturally supported nurturing qualities in women have made it so much harder for us to say no. But no matter what the reason or stage of life, when we’re in the position to make choices for ourselves, it’s up to us to first establish and then respect the beneficial boundaries we purposely set up to best serve not only ourselves, but others as well. That’s what creating a Joie de Vivre Schedule is all about.
There are only so many hours in the day — and in each one of our lives. And when we choose to do one thing, we automatically eliminate the opportunity to do something else. So when the flood of requests, suggestions, obligations, invitations, and expectations comes pouring in, first carefully consider and then respond accordingly with positive confidence, even if your answer needs to be, “No, I’m sorry, but I can’t this time.” And rest assured that it’s really not necessary for you to provide any detailed explanation for the requester to judge, possibly offer alternative solutions for, or feel further rejected by. That will only confuse the issue. So keep your response clear, kind and simple. It’s rarely true that we’re the only one who could possibly do it. And then whatever that request was will either get done by someone else or it won’t, because maybe it wasn’t really that critical after all. Then take another deep breath and get on with what you actually most need and want to do. Sometimes the only way to say “YES!” to the possibilities in our lives is to first learn how to say “no”.
And now that you’ve figured out how to most effectively answer your own mayday cry for help, it’s time to celebrate this more clearly focused vision and strength with a joyful spring in your step, as you continue to weave it all together around the daily mental maypole of so many choices. And even if you don’t need the enticing promise in a little basket of sweet treats to keep you going until break time, in this season of creating fresh possibilities, all we have to do is simply open the door to discover all around the inspiration for our true sense abilities to feast on. May each and every one of us keep blooming, growing, and gathering our rosebuds while we may. Because time always is a-flying. So why wouldn’t we choose to both give and get whatever “It” might be, both starting right now and for as long we still can?
Next time we’ll focus on how to keep Maintaining Our Flexibility.
Related Links: Joie de Vivre Tip #4
Bon Appétit! Kay