Decide what works for you and then, politely go.
Have you ever said “Yes OK” when you know you mean “No way”? Well, I know I have and now, I rarely do.
Listening to a group of experienced, professional and successful women recently, the discussion was around how to go off to bed, go off and exercise, go off and be quiet, go off and sleep when you want to when you’re away on business. If you’re out either socialising or out at a work-related engagement, the question was how to manage your time and energy with other people pulling you in a direction and telling you what you ‘should’ do.
If this sounds familiar to you well firstly, you’re not alone and secondly you owe it to yourself and your precious life energy to learn how to decide what works best for you and then politely, assertively tell others that’s what’s happening. Not apologising or squirming in any way. Just assertively put a boundary around the time you need using your energy and a few key words.
You may be someone who is always up for one more drink, one more conversation, another game of cards, one more – whatever. That’s great and I really admire it, on one level. I find though, I get to a stage, especially when I’m travelling away from home, when I need to go off. Enough is enough and I’m ready for bed, for a rest, for a swim, to make a call, to be quiet.
I’m sure you know what I mean and then there’s the pull from others.
- “Oh come on, stay and have another X” or
- “Don’t be a party pooper, let’s go and have a Y” or – worse –
- “Oh you’re so boring, we’re just getting going and you’ll miss all the fun”
Well, I know and use a few choice words, an energetic stance and then you can quietly – and assertively – go. I do.
Try these on for size if you imagine being at a conference, an event, a party and you’re told you must stay when you know it’s time to go:
- “Thank you so much Amanda, I know you’ll have a brilliant time and I’m off to my bed so I can be on the ball in the morning. Have a great time” as you start to move, hold your hand out, smile and then, literally go.
- “You have a drink for me Amanda and I’m going to go for a swim now so I can enjoy dinner together this evening. See you at the bar at 7pm” as you pack up your things, stand up and start to head away intentionally.
- “I’d love to and thanks for asking me Amanda – I’m going to make a few calls first and then I may join you later” as you smile and move without apologising or feeling awkward.
What’s interesting in moments like these is how much better you feel being firm about what you want or need and not being told what you’ll do. You’ll also often find others wish they’d said the same thing as you but felt compelled to go along instead.
As a professional woman who knows building relationships is a key part of your success, you also need to know what you need. If it’s peace, space, rest, sleep then, it’s yours for the taking.
Going the extra mile when all you want it quiet is self-defeating and sometimes, as Walt Disney said “you have to leave them wanting more”.