Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Being Decisive and Saying No

I am still working on this whole confidence thing. It's pretty challenging for me. I feel like I consistently need a pep talk. Or I need to own a book that reminds me of how it looks to be a confident person so I can consult it whenever I start second guessing myself.

This week, I have noticed two areas for growth that prevent me from coming across as confident.
First off, I am indecisive. I change my mind faster than you can say, "Are you sure?" No, no I am not sure. Why are you asking? I feel as though I have seldom been sure about anything in my life: I changed my major three times before graduating; I transferred universities; and I started a program to get my licensure in Special Education only to quit taking classes 2 different semesters.

I struggle with making decisions, both big and small. The other day, Rob asked me what I had in mind for my Birthday. "A nice dinner with you sounds lovely. No wait. I want to hang out with my friend and her kiddos and my other friend that I am sure will want to celebrate with us too. Maybe we can meet them at Applebee's. No, that's so impersonal. How about we invite them over for Papa Murphy's pizza." This banter went on for about an hour until exhaustion set in, and I decided to stick with my original plan.

Part of the reason I struggle with indecision is because I always want to make "the Best" decision as though such a thing even existed; I don't think it does. No matter what I decide, there are going to be some good and bad things about it. In fact, I do really want to hang out with my friends. But hosting on my Birthday sounds tiring. So, I plan to invite them over another evening. Whoofta-- one decision made, only about 20 million to go.

Another area of opportunity for me is the ability to say "no" to people without feeling guilty. The other day, my friend was planning to come over and observe me teach online classes. No problem. However, she told me that our boss would be coming over to observe me teach as well. Excuse me, was someone going to verify that this was okay with me first? My boss did email me a day before to see if I was okay with it. I told her it was a little overwhelming for me to have two people observing me, and it would likely be overwhelming for the students too who have never had anyone observe our classes before let alone two people. So I said no and suggested an alternate time for her to observe class. No big deal, right? But for some reason, I feel like I should apologize for not letting her observe me teach class. Did I do anything wrong in this situation? No, I didn't. I said no and established some boundaries. So why do I feel guilty? I think it might have something to do with my people pleasing nature. I so need to get over that!

In going forward, I have a couple of action plans to work on these two growth opportunities. First, I want to practice being decisive with the small things like what we're having for dinner, what to wear, what movie to watch, and so on. These decisions are not deal breakers. If I can practice the art of being decisive in small ways, I think it will help me to be more decisive with big decisions.

Another way to help with making big decisions is I am going to prolong voicing or coming to a final decision until I have fully played out both decisions in my mind. Sometimes I feel rushed to have answers for people (people-pleasing at its best) so I force myself to make a decision too quickly. However, big decisions usually don't directly affect the people I am talking to about them, so it's not always necessary for them to know which way I am leaning.

In saying no to people, I am going to fully embrace that other people's happiness or sense of worth does not depend on me. I cannot make people happy. Repeat: I cannot make people happy. Saying no to people can be a sign of intentionality and maturity in one's life. Maybe I am saying no to certain things because I want to pour more into my role as a wife. Or, I want to spend the extra time to regain energy so I might be more Christ-like at work. I want to say no with more confidence knowing that I never mean to hurt anyone, but simply that saying no is sometimes necessary and good.

What are some ways you have discovered to help you say no to opportunities and be more decisive when making decisions?

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