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Spreading Yourself Too Thin: It’s Okay To Say “No More”
February 5, 2016
This has absolutely nothing to do with photography or anything we normally would talk about here on the blog (even though it is business related), but I (Ashley) just need to ramble for a minute about something that happened this week. It’s weighing on my heart, and I have to release it … and my hope is that maybe, just maybe, someone else out there knows what I’m feeling.
How many times as friends, family, business people or whatever-fill-in-the-blank-kind-of-person-you-are have you done something (or even just tried to do something), knowing that it was going to be a challenge, but you knew you just had to give it your best?
How long did it take you to realize that it’s okay to say “no more?”
There’s something about being a sensitive, constantly-giving-to-others, wear-my-heart-on-my-sleeve kind of person that keeps me constantly looking for the good in at least trying, of giving things a chance or even a second chance. I’m always willing to help someone, to raise them up, to be a shoulder or to be a resource. Always. I’ve always been that girl.
Over the last year, I’ve tried my hardest to get the ball rolling for a project that, to be honest, I still have a lot of hope for. I see the vision and the possibilities. I see the potential. I know it can be a success, and I essentially took on an unpaid second part-time job of trying to get this project off the ground.
Remember in Eclipse (oh gosh, avert your eyes for my dorkiness, a Twilight reference is coming…), when Alice is planning that huge party after graduation and she’s trying to decide what kind of music to play, and offers up some stuff most people never would dream of listening to and Edward says, “you can only lead a horse to water?” …
Well, I’m tired of standing there, yanking on the horse’s rope. Over the last few months, I’ve realized it’s absolutely okay to say, “no more” when something just isn’t working for me, my family or our business anymore. I’ve always found it easier to let myself down than to do that to someone else, to take care of others before taking care of myself, to put others ahead of me … and I think that’s why it’s taken me so long to finally face the facts: I just can’t be part of this project anymore.
What the project was – it doesn’t matter. This week I stepped away from it …
1.) I can talk until I’m blue in the face, but if no one is listening: it doesn’t matter how important my message is.
2.) I can’t make anyone be proactive about their life or business. All I can do is say “these are the tools, these are the instructions, I’m here to lend you any support I can, and I’ll be here for you every step of the way” and if they choose not to listen or ask questions, that’s not my fault.
3.) I have been spreading myself too thin, trying to be a good wife, a good mom, a good friend, a good business person, a good photographer … all while taking time away from those important things and from myself. It’s not okay to take care of others at the detriment to myself.
Stepping away from this project was ‘oddly emotionally confusing,’ to use the words of a friend who has experienced this same “I just can’t do this anymore” feeling.
Guilt, because I feel like I let people down …
Pride, because I know I did the absolute best I could …
Sadness, that I am no longer going to be part of the project by my own free choice …
Anger, because I’m not sure I even made a huge difference despite all the time, effort and soul I put into it …
Happiness, because I have freed up a considerable chunk of my valuable time that I can now put toward our business, my education and other important endeavors …
… and some other feeling I can’t quite describe. Maybe something akin to pride in trying and seeing the moderate success I had, but also like a failure. And maybe a little bit like a quitter.
So that’s my message and my thoughts for today: it’s absolutely okay to say “no more.” It’s okay to walk away from something if it’s just not something that’s bringing a lot of positivity to your life. It’s okay to at least try, just to fail. It’s better not to spread yourself too thin.
There’s more to life than just being successful: it’s about the bumps in the road and the way we overcome them.
Favorite new photo of us by Abbi Hearne