Leila was a great new employee. Everyone who worked with her loved her. Well … they loved to ask her for help. Leila never said, “I’m busy,” or “Now is not a good time.” She would drop everything to take care of anything that anyone asked her to do.
Leila was a help-a-holic. She simply could not say no. Leila would often wish, afterwards, that she had declined some request. Her plate was full, and she was tired of pulling all-nighters to meet an unexpected deadline … for someone else. She would even tell herself, “No more!” … until the next request came around.
One morning, Leila’s manager, Richard, approached her. He had begun to notice a few things about Leila. He gave her a couple of suggestions.
“Before saying yes, examine your ROI.”
Richard told Leila that helping people who had no intentions of helping her in return would only make her frustrated. What is more, it would cause her to be less able to manage her own workload. She would be a better team member if she kept to her specified tasks … and let others manage their own.
“Set your own boundaries, and stick to them.”
Leila’s manager let her know that having personal boundaries in her work life and personal life would only serve to increase her satisfaction in her job, and after hours as well. “If you continually deplete your reserves, you’ll be tired, frustrated, and unable to enjoy your work or your free time.”
“If you can’t say no, at least don’t say yes.”
Richard suggested that, if Leila had such a difficult time telling people, “No,” she could come up with a script to help her defer their frequent requests. Some ideas included, “Give me a little while to think about that,” “Let me check my schedule and get back to you,” and, “I’ll text (or email) you with a reply as soon as I can.”
These three ideas transformed Leila’s life. No longer was she stuck with projects and deadlines that were not her own to begin with. What’s more, she had more time to enjoy her working atmosphere, her home life, and her weekends. People still respected Leila … and Leila loved her life.
Maybe, while reading, you found yourself empathizing with Leila. Perhaps you realized you are just like Leila, constantly saying yes to every request. Or maybe you are more like Richard, and find it easy to maintain a healthy balance on the work front. Wherever you stand, you might find it helpful to examine your work/life balance. Be grateful for the opportunity to help others, but help yourself too by examining your ROI, setting your own boundaries, and learning how to say, “Let me get back to you.” After all, you deserve to love your job … and your life.
Grow Big or Go Home!
[All characters in the above story are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.]