The Ultimate Life Hack: Start Saying *No*

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Whether it was this year’s #LikeAGirl Superbowl commercial or last month’s Imagine The Possibilities campaign [go Barbie!], advertising is sending us a powerful message: 2015 is *just the beginning* for a huge shift in women’s empowerment. + while we have spent this year banning *bossy* + *leaning in*, there’s one thing we all still need to work on — *saying no*.

In addition to what we’re seeing about women continuing to be too afraid to express their opinion, speak up ++ ask for upward movement, it’s also becoming quite clear that women have a very hard time saying no — whether it’s their bosses + co-workers or their trusted friends + family members. We’ve grown up with the understanding that in order to earn praise + respect, we must always play nice, cooperate, + lend a helping hand whenever possible. People-pleasing + *being the mom of the friend group* are more than just expressions of our personalities —  they’ve been encouraged by society since we were little girls.

As we push through 2015 + continue this movement into 2016, let’s start it with one, simple word: no. As CHAARG leaders, we’re already swamped. Our planners are jam-packed with college courses or a daily work schedule, workouts, part-time jobs, + extracurriculars — not to mention, any downtime with our best friends. So, why do we keep saying *yes*, when we know we really shouldn’t? What’s stopping us from choosing the life we know we really want [vs. the one we think we’re supposed to have]?

Saying *YES* is easy — it’s what everyone wants to hear. But when we actively say *no*, it’s super important to remember that you’re not being mean or telling the other person that their request is not important or valid. We’re just putting our own well-being first, + rightly so. Take a moment + self-evaluate. Are you a *yes* woman? Still need more convincing that it’s really okay to say no?

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1] FORCES YOU TO PRIORITIZE + BRING FOCUS TO WHAT’S MOST IMPORTANT.

With constantly updating newsfeeds + notifications, we already fight procrastination + distraction on a daily basis. In order to truly commit to our practice [whatever this may be], saying *no* is a crucial first step. Even the time we spend considering saying *yes* or doing the research on the new task’s requirements takes away from the creative energy of what’s happening right now.

2] BRINGS VALUE TO YOUR DECISIONS, YOUR WORK, + YOUR LIFE.

When we say yes to everything, not one thing is more important than the other. Saying *no* shows that we have a clear vision, a distinct plan of action, + a personal opinion. We are 100% committed to the current course right now + cannot turn around. ++ you know what? You are right where you are supposed to be.

3] HELPS YOU REACH YOUR GOALS FASTER.

We live in a world driven by instant gratification. From one-click online shopping or the immediate upload to a Snapchat story, it could not be easier to get something done + show if off to everyone else. So, why do we have to keep pushing back deadlines? When you already have too much on your plate + saying *yes* remains more than just a possibility, you lose sight of your own personal timeline. To really crank things out [+ things that you are proud of!], both eyes have to stay on the prize. Unless this new route helps you accomplish your current task faster or gives this work more meaning, there’s nothing wrong with staying on your own track. When you’ve crushed your own goals, you’ll be that much wiser when helping others.

4] GIVES YOU MORE TIME TO DO WHAT YOU LOVE.

Plain + simple: life is not all about school, work, or however we attribute success. We should *always* have time to catch up with friends + family, binge on our favorite shows, read new books on our latest hobbies, + sign up for the latest fitness class craze. But, if we find ourselves always saying *yes* just to impress, we no longer have the time to do all of the *fun things* + more importantly, the things we are truly passionate about. Saying no in order to say *yes* to yourself is a worthy reason + arguably, the most important. Added bonus: that *me* time promotes creativity + positive energy that *will* translate over to your workload. So, just say no already! : )

+ Jessica [@jessicasmith_inchaarg] // VirtCHAARG NYC

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