I went for lunch with a friend recently and she was telling me that someone had asked her to be part of their startup. As she talked, I could sense that she had some doubts about it. After listening for a couple of minutes, I asked her a simple question “Do you want to?” 

She looked at me and laughed. “No, not really”. I smiled and said, “That’s it then”.

I understand, she didn’t want to upset her friend. Most of us don’t want to upset people. Generally, we want to be liked. It’s human nature. But there’s a fine line between people pleasing and doing things to the detriment of ourselves. 

Recently, I worked with a client who was unable to finish a project because she felt that she didn’t want to offend people and was afraid of what others would say about her work. She wanted everyone to be happy. Unfortunately, she was not happy herself because she wasn’t finishing what she wanted to do. 

I’ve said this before in a blog and it serves more as a reminder for myself: A “Yes is a No and a No is a Yes”. So when you are saying Yes to someone else’s project, you are saying No to something in your life. This could be your own project, time with the family or a much-needed rest.

So before you say yes to anything else, first ask yourself “Do I want to?”