I have a fantastic problem – I am finding it increasingly hard to figure out what to say “no” to. How do you prioritize when there’s impact to be made all around you? Any system I attempt to come up with feels so artificial and selfish. This is when “it’s a marathon not a sprint” mentality comes to mind – I may not be able to do that today but I’ll tuck it away for the future.

I used to use Wunderlist to help track all of the many things I said “yes” to until, for some reason I cannot recall, I stopped one day. I recently returned to it after forgetting to post a team update. It was unlike me to do so and it made me realize how I was spending precious little brain cells trying to keep track of tasks that repeated weekly. When it popped into my head to use Wunderlist again, I stumbled on two fantastic lists: “books I want to read” and “ideas”. Reading them over I marveled at past Anne (she has some good ideas) and began adding to each list.

After the excitement of stumbling on old ideas turned new wore off, I became a bit sad. I had been keeping ideas in the Notes app of my iPhone along with my to do list items and erasing the ideas if, after a couple of days or a week, they didn’t prove to stay good ideas and I couldn’t say “yes” to them. I think this came out of necessity due to time constraints and trying to move things out of my to do list. This is the problem with keeping ideas in a “To-Do” format: if you can’t implement it, you’ll cross it out and lose the idea entirely. How foolish! Don’t make my mistake.

I am starting something new. I’m going to keep a running list of ideas. This is ironically likely not going to help with my problem of saying no more but I imagine it will help with some future “yes”.

In the chaos of trying to wrap my head around “no”, I realized the true motivating factor for why I’m thinking so much about this: I want to be able to have room in my life for the “big yeses”. Do you know what I’m talking about? The kinds of massive challenges that every doubting part of you wants to scream “NOOO” to but you must whisper “yes” because you know you’ll be better for it.  The moves across the country because you love someone. The trips to foreign lands where you don’t speak the language. The moment you step into a role that feels beyond you. The project that stretches your skills to their limits. The chance to meet people who make your heart race because they truly embody greatness in every sense of the word. The big yeses – they are out there and I want to be ready so maybe – just maybe – I won’t have to whisper “yes” this time around.

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