"No" is Necessary

2019 has been a pretty big year of personal growth for me. I’ve had plenty of setbacks along the way, but each one has been a learning experience in its own way. Sometimes it’s hard to see the good in the thick of it – but wisdom and folly are two sides of the same coin.

One of my favorite realizations this year is the power of saying “no” to things. I’ve always been an agreeable fellow, often to my own detriment if the person asking for something isn’t considering the impact of their request on me.

Anyway, this year I’ve gotten a lot better at establishing and protecting my own boundaries. This has affected both my personal and professional lives in pretty profound ways. I’ve found that the power of saying “no” lies mostly in choosing to surround yourself with people who you can share mutual respect with. These are people – coworkers, friends, and otherwise – that you can say “yes” to.

Life gets a whole lot cooler when you choose the right people to be in your life. There’s some 7.7 billion people on the planet and life is way too short to surround yourself with people who don’t respect you. Find those that do!

Finally, I’d love to share a delightful NPR Tiny Desk Concert featuring Naia Izumi, the winner of the 2018 Tiny Desk Contest. The first song in his set, “Soft Spoken,” is practically an anthem for establishing healthy boundaries:

Back off, you're crowding my space
Hands off, it's under control
Everyone has something to say
But I'm tired of lending an ear

So move out of my way
There's too many chiefs in this tribe
There's only room for one of us
Only room for one of us

Don't judge a book by its cover
Listen and you will learn
I might be a soft spoken person
But I’m aware of the power I have

So move out of my way
There's too many chiefs in this tribe
There's only room for one of us
Only room for one of us
Too many chiefs trying to decide
Only room for one of us
Only room for one of us

Everyone's got a point
And no one's right or wrong
But only I know my heart
And I've got my best interest in mind

So move out of my way
There's too many chiefs in this tribe
There's only room for one of us
Only room for one of us
Too many chiefs trying to decide
Only room for one of us
Only room for one of us

Don't judge a book by its cover
Listen and you will learn

The whole set is an absolute treat and Naia is one of those musicians I absolutely must catch the next time he plays nearby. Without further ado, here it is:

Naia Izumi's 2018 Tiny Desk Concert.