Yesterday I turned down a job. And it wasn't easy. Because usually I say yes. I like to say yes. Sure. I can get it done. No problem. And I'll make it look easy. And you won't even know that I sacrificed my downtime for it. To you, it will look seamless and beautiful. And you'll be happy. And I'll be happy you're happy.
Or so I thought. But I'm starting to change that kind of thinking... I'm starting to realize that saying yes to everything is not in line with my priorities (to be balanced and healthy, to have a fun marriage, to be creative, etc). And I'm squishing out the things I *really* want to do with things that I feel *obligated* to do.
And when I'm really honest about it... I think that my saying yes all the time is because I'm afraid. Afraid that clients will stop calling me for work (so scary!). Or that I'll miss an opportunity. Or that I'll disappoint someone.
So I declined that job and am really trying to trust that it's okay. That it'll work out anyway and she's not mad at me... and that she'll call again in the future.
Afterward, I spoke to a friend on the phone and told her that I was working on saying no compassionately. And she liked that phrase... I said I was trying to really listen to my gut and give myself a little more time when making decisions so I could know if it's something I really wanted to do, or if it was something that I was saying yes to out of habit or reflex or obligation. Would I just be cramming it in because I thought I had to? -- or was it something I would do joyfully?
Or is there a way to compromise? --
Last Friday I got an email from a gallery I am working with now about scheduling a show for next year. (hi kate!) She wrote and said they'd like to have me for a solo show. And I was so flattered... but I decided I would think about it over the weekend. I weighed how much work went into the last solo show and what my priorities are for next year. And ultimately, I decided to say no.
So I emailed her back on Monday, heart pounding, and explained my situation... what I had in mind for next year and asking if she would instead consider a group show. I hit 'send' and congratulated myself for doing what was right for me (and then prayed she would not be mad at me).
And y'know... within the hour she emailed back and said that was totally fine. She understood and was thrilled about curating a group show.
So now I am challenging myself every day to really look at what I say yes to. And where I can give myself space by saying no. Trusting it will all be okay. And no one will hate me. I'll let you know how it goes. :)