For some reason, it took me 34 years to accept what many others have noted a million times over — ”Learn to say No.” I have spent a lot of time this year focusing on self-improvement through reading, meditation, podcasts, etc….Truth is, it was really working for me. It allowed me to prioritize who and what were important in my life. It enabled me to focus on me and what I really want to achieve in my life. While reading, listening, or meditating, I felt energized and inspired.

However, not long after I would stop engaging in the above activities, I would fall into the same old trap; I would allow people, or a specific person, to drain all of that hard-gained energy and inspiration right out of me. They were able to do this by simply asking for something. I would spend a great deal of time the morning of, or the night before, planning and mapping what I wanted to accomplish that day or week, only to allow someone else to come along and hijack my schedule. Almost always, these people weren’t being malicious or ill-intentioned in their requests. However, they were being lazy and selfish. Instead of spending any effort or time trying to solve their own problems, they would simply pass it along to me and go about enjoying their days, knowing full well that I would handle it for them. In the beginning, It made me feel important and worthy that people would entrust me to help them. Now, it’s clear that I was mistaken and misguided. I did, however, make two valuable mistakes. First, I allowed other people to determine my self-worth. Secondly, I allowed others to dictate the outcome of my day. These were necessary mistakes because I learned that, in order to achieve what I want out of life, I must learn to stay focused and true to my goals, even if that means saying no to other people, activities, or events. It’s important not to let other people distract you from your endgame or from what’s important in your own life. The banal requests that people placed upon me did nothing to bring me closer to my goals. It did, however, bring me further away from spending time on the things or with the people that are important to me.

Try your best to stay true to the goals that you want to achieve in life. Spend time with the people that are important to you, and who will support and assist in achieving those goals. Don’t let those who don’t respect, appreciate, or add value to your life drain you of your time, energy, and creativity through asking you to solve all of their problems, when they are more than fully equipped to solve them themselves. Learn to say NO.