I have spent a long time teaching myself to say no to more things and to commit to less generally. I got to a point in my life when I would organise social events weeks in advance, always trying to ensure I was constantly ‘on’, busy and occupied. These events would inevitably roll around and I would suddenly dread showing up. Many a Friday night would arrive and I would be exhausted after a full working week and all I felt like doing would be eating pizza on the couch and watching trashy TV, not socialising and drinking. Saying no to these sorts of events more often delivered a huge sense of calm to my life and I am now more careful about the events I plan in advance.
Completely contrary to this however, I have lately experienced somewhat of an epiphany when it comes to events I really don’t want to attend. I have adopted a policy of just showing up, then seeing what happens and through this I have reaped multiple rewards. I am referring specifically to career-oriented events and networking nights – things I generally loathe and detest. Recently however, I have been invited along to events (always night time soirees) which I lock myself in to during the weekdays and when the roll around, I find myself reluctant to leave the warmth of my apartment and venture out into the cold night to chat to a group of (usually men, old men) who are dressing in suits and who want to ‘network’. Each time though, I have dragged myself there and have come home feeling so happy I did. On multiple occasions now I have not only met new people but I have met people who want to help me, who are interested in what I am doing and who want to introduce me to others who want to help me succeed. Saying ‘yes’ against my will on these occasions has proved extremely fruitful. I fall asleep on those nights thinking about what I would have missed out on had I written the night off and made up an excuse as to why I couldn’t attend.
I guess the point I am trying to make is that while we all need balance in our lives and need to constantly juggle our social and work commitments, if you are picky about the things you do choose to attend, they can be extremely beneficial. Start saying yes more and see what happens. I guarantee that if nothing else, at least you will meet some interesting people and your life will be richer for it.