My three-year-old daughter has a funny way of turning down food. “No thanks,” she says, when presented with strawberries, which for reasons no one knows she’s decided she does not eat. “I’ll have them later.”
Most of the time, when we say we will do something “later” it means one of two things:
- This isn’t important enough for me to do at all, I’m just not willing to tell you that directly; OR
- Before doing this I need to check with three people so I don’t have to make the decision alone.
Yes, you might have a system in place to organize your work, so that “later” actually means “I will do this at 3pm” but when “later” is vague and loose, it is a quiet, subtle way to practice taking yourself off the hook, even for small things. And this sort of habit builds up until it becomes how we orient ourselves in the face of things that are ours to do.
It is so rarely the case that we need to you play smaller and ask for permission more.
Yes, consult when you need real input from people who will make your thinking better, but please don’t ask around in search of a lukewarm “no.”
If you find yourself snowed in by Juno today, then today might be the perfect time to practice starting to say “yes” and “now” and “this is up to me” more often.
Pass the strawberries, please.