If you are a woman who has a hard time saying no, you often feel overcommitted or overwhelmed and have lost track of your own needs, please read this blog post! If you are so blessed to have none of those issues, please skip the blog post but leave your advice in the comments!

Recently one of my life coaching clients started a new practice that we are calling The Mindful Maybe. She came to my office feeling frustrated for yet again agreeing to something that after some thought, she has no time and very little interest in doing.

Why did she say yes? She is a self-proclaimed people helper. Her identity has been formed around being there for her friends, her family and her work mates. So saying yes is an automatic for her. But, she is also trying to create time and space for a budding interest in art, she has two kids in elementary school and would like to make it to yoga class at least once per week. In other words, if she doesn’t start saying no more, she is doomed to feeling even more resentful.

So my life coaching client decided to gracefully say, “Maybe, I’ll get back to you,” to every single thing that came her way. Even those really obvious “yes” things like a best friend inviting her to dinner. That gives her the much needed pause, some deep breaths, and time for a few serious self-reflection questions. That is mindfulness in action!

Photo by Lisa Plummer

Photo by Lisa Plummer, shared via Flickr

Her self-reflection questions (to be asked when she is feeling calm and has time alone) are simple:

  • Why would I say yes to this?
  • If I say yes to this what else will I have to let go of or have less time/energy for?
  • How does my body feel about saying yes to this?

If she’s being honest with herself about why she’d be doing it, if it still allows her to tend to other important aspects of her life and if her body feels calm when she imagines the activity, she will say yes. But if she feels body tension, confusion about why she’d do it, and/or if it unreasonably takes time away from her current needs and values, then it is a clear no.I hope you try the Mindful Maybe in your own life. Let me know how it goes?