Yes and No: Strike the Right Balance to Improve Your Life
We all know “yes” men. They will kiss ass and do whatever it takes to advance in an organization meanwhile their work product is of a standard suitable for middle school and their social skills rival that of a tree slug.
Saying “yes” is often the only way to get ahead in your career. You have to be willing and available to do the jobs that need doing, sometimes even put in extra hours to push projects along or complete important tasks.
But, if you’re not careful, saying “yes” too often can lead to serious stress, over-work, perhaps even burnout. It’s important that you learn to find the balance between being willing to do what needs to be done and making yourself, your health, and your sanity a priority.
“Yes” Leads to Opportunities
Someone once said, “Friendships only work as long as you keep saying ‘yes’ to things.’
Friends will invite you to hang out, to get together, or to try new things, and as long as you keep saying “yes”, the friendship keeps rolling on.
Career progress is just like that as well. If you say “yes” to a small opportunity, it proves to your bosses, managers, or executives that you’re willing and able to do what needs doing. The more you say “yes”, the more opportunities you’ll find will fall into your lap.
Early in your career, it’s always a good idea to say “yes” when opportunities present themselves. Even if they’re small things, they’ll typically lead to bigger, better, and grander openings. Perhaps that side project you completed for your head-of-department led to an invitation to join their team, or the possibility of a lateral move to a different department, one you’re better-suited for. Maybe filling in the slot to work on the weekends will get you noticed for all your hard work, and your bosses will be far more willing to give you a raise thanks to the extra time and effort.
Saying “yes” isn’t just about your career, though. The more you try and are willing to do, the more you learn and grow your skills. You may find that taking an opportunity will push you out of your comfort zone, but that is how you grow as a person and a professional. The more you do, the more you realize you are capable of doing. Being willing to take on new tasks and tackle new challenges is how you expand your professional skill set and become more capable and versatile. In the end, that makes you a better person in every sense of the word.
When opportunities arise, try to say “yes” as much as possible. You’d be amazed where they could lead, and you might wind up taking a whole different career or personal path than you’d expected when the opening presented itself. Even if it’s just a small thing, try to say “yes” as often as you can because in the end, saying “yes” is how you grow, push your career forward, and find new things that you can do.
“No” is Important, Too
But sometimes saying “yes” can lead to far more stress than is good for your health. Maybe your boss is asking you to take on a project you don’t have the skills for, or someone is pushing you beyond the limits of your capabilities. If an important task needs doing and it’s going to go into overtime work, you may end up losing out on personal and family opportunities as a result.
There will always be times when it’s best to say “no” to things, especially when they interfere with:
Your marriage and relationship with your partner, children, and family
Your mental and emotional health
Your physical capabilities, and your body’s stress tolerance levels
Your physical health
If you put any of these things in second place to career opportunities, you may find that your outside-of-work life suffers as a result.
Now, it’s a given that your home life is often going to have to take back seat to professional and career opportunities. Putting in extra hours at work will often mean staying late, coming in early, or working on the weekends. Obviously, that’s going to come at the expense of your time with your family, recreational activities, or rest. There is a certain amount of personal sacrifice expected in order to make your career work.
But that doesn’t mean that your personal life should always take a hit for the sake of your career. If that’s your attitude, you’re going to find yourself living a far more miserable life that is good for your health.
It’s imperative that you take care of all aspects of your life, not just your life at work.
Spend enough time with your wife, husband, parents, siblings, children, and friends. Strong personal connections and relationships are important for your mental and emotional health, and a fulfilling and happy home life can help you cope with a stressful work life.
Take care of your emotional and mental health. If you’re riddled with anxiety, plagued by stress, or struggling with depression, it could be the result of overwork and excessive strain at work. Think about how your work is affecting your wellbeing, and take steps to find the balance.
Evaluate how your daily workload is impacting your physical health. If you’re gaining weight, feeling tired all the time, struggling to stay awake, or missing too many hours of sleep, your work and personal life is out of balance.
The truth is that it’s terrifying to say “no” when opportunities arise. You fear that you will miss out on them, or that they won’t come around again because you shut them down. There is a very real chance that this really is the case, which is why it’s important that you think carefully before saying “yes” or “no” to any offer.
But don’t be so fearful of missing out on an opportunity that the rest of your life suffers. Your mental, emotional, and physical health are just as important as the health of your bank account. Find that balance between saying “yes” every chance you get and learning when “no” is the best choice for your wellbeing overall.