Yes, No or Maybe So? How to Stop Leading on Empty

There are three crucial factors to keep in mind when nourishing our core values: keeping balance is harder than finding it, saying yes is easier (and oftentimes more dangerous) than saying no and dodging becoming burnt out is the key to preserving your sanity. Understanding the complexities of each of these scenarios, and connecting to core values, will create space for introspection and allow us to recharge.

Core values are the building blocks that create the substance of who you are. They are the means and often motivators through which decisions, goals, actions and behaviors can be filtered. What qualities or attributes do you hold dear? What do you stand for in your life, in relationships, in your contributions? What buzzwords light you up and make you think: ”I want that to be part of who I am?” When you establish your most coveted core values, you begin to protect your spirit, your unique essence.

 Once you have written your list of core values, then you can actively use them to guide your decisions. From there, you can spend time planning your social calendar, submitting time off requests at work and planning how you’re going to spend your down time. All of this can be accomplished through filtering your values. For example, if you value flexibility then you will make space in a vacation schedule for spontaneity versus having every moment strictly planned.

The process looks like this:


What are my choices?


Does it align with the specific value or set of values that I have? If it does not, why am I struggling to say no?


The best option will start to present itself after you’ve filtered your values and you’ll be able to make a more informed decision.

As you grow in using your core values to filter your choices, you will gain confidence and conviction in your decisions. You will learn how to comfortably say no to opportunities that do not make sense for you and not apologize for it.  Feelings of guilt and anxiety will fade when it comes to being a “good” or “bad” decision-maker. You will gain control of how you spend your time and care more about doing things to lift your spirit versus out of obligation. You will understand your uniqueness and respect it by setting such boundaries. When you establish boundaries and become protective of your time, energy, and freedom of choice, your integrity will strengthen.

You can think of being whole as feeling connected to your values, grounded in how they shape your decisions and feeling like the puzzle-pieces that make up yourself are locked into place. When you’re not operating as a whole, you can become off balance, stretched thin, over-worked, run-ragged, empty or incomplete. The work here is to maintain alignment with core values. How does one do that? You become great at saying…”no”. You stop giving your time away freely, to the wrong people, and to the things you know you don’t want to do but feel obligated, guilty, bad or stressed about.

And…you also become an expert at saying yes, and meaning it. You should only give your yes away after strong evaluation of: “Does this opportunity make sense for me? Is this something I really want to do with the time I can’t get back? Can I actually commit to this yes? What are my motives?” Integrity can only strengthen when you commit. Commit to yourself and what you deserve. Commit to your core values and use them as a filter for decisions. Commit to what you say you are going to do. This is where your integrity becomes your word and your word becomes a representation of your character.

But remember, you are allowed to commit to something and change your mind. Life happens, days get hard and things come up. You just have to continue to communicate what you can and cannot do. Use your word to take back the control of your schedule and make your decisions and commitments purposeful. Unite your time, energy, values and decisions so that you can feel whole, and instead of leading on empty, fill up your soul-tank whenever needed.


By Leah Lou

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