My blog is devoted to sharing personal development tools, techniques and tips that will inspire you to create a growth mindset, build resilience and manage your world more effectively.

Nicole's Insights

I used to be the person that would always say yes to helping everyone with everything all the time.

Taking on additional tasks, driving and flying all over the place to see people – even when I had little or no time, I simply never said no.

If I’m honest though, I actually enjoy doing all of that, I adore spending time with people I care about and I also enjoy helping people.

But what I have learnt is that it’s just not possible to continue performing at that level for long periods of time without sacrificing yourself.  

I found that I’d frequently feel run down, lack in energy more often than I should have and I’d struggle to switch off. It was so bad at one point, that if I didn’t have plans to wake up for on the weekend, I wouldn’t sleep properly. I almost felt that without having a plan or purpose each day, I’d be wasting my life.

Whilst I still like to have a purpose at the weekend, in recent years I have learnt that sometimes that purpose needs to be rest and relaxation, and it’s ok to not have every moment of my waking day planned out.

I found the journey to get to this point very difficult. It would mean connecting with my body to recognise when it was feeling tired and run down and occasionally saying ‘no’ to plans to spend time with people. When I started doing this, I felt immense guilt, as if I was letting people down for putting myself first.

Our brains are so interesting in the way they reinforce our beliefs about ourselves and it’s not until we confront them that we’re really able to challenge the guilt of saying no.

Why do we feel guilty for putting ourselves first? Social pressure? Personal belief? Whatever it may be, it’s time to acknowledge that we can’t do it all, all of the time.

Saying no is not bad, in fact, putting yourself first is the best thing for you and those around you, when it allows you to give your whole self.

I’m a big believer in choosing one thing and doing it well. Don’t pick to do something and feel guilty about turning something else down at the same time, that guilt will prevent you from doing the chosen thing 100%. For example: you say no to having coffee with your friends and instead choose to stay at home relaxing and watching Netflix all day. Don’t spend the entire time you’re binge watching Suits (or whatever your chosen series may be) feeling bad that you didn’t meet your friends, because you’re interfering with doing a good job of relaxing. Pick one, do it well, let the guilt go.

You cannot do everything all the time, it’s ok to turn things down, or pick one thing over another…just do the chosen one well.

The guilt is usually self-inflicted and if it isn’t, then you putting yourself first is even more valuable then you’ll ever realise. If others make you feel guilty, that’s more of a reflection of them then it is of you!

Love, Nicole.