One of the biggest challenges I have had as a speaker (besides getting rid of all my “Umms”) has been setting healthy boundaries when it comes to when and where I speak. It is such a total and complete honor to be asked to speak to a group, so I have been really reluctant to say no to anyone. This year, with the book The Husband Project having come out I have spoken over 40 times since January 1st. (I often don’t know what city I am in – thank God I have a navigational system that just tells me where to go.)
While it’s been the right decision to speak a lot to promote the new book, I probably haven’t made the best choice when it comes to a couple of groups I have said yes to in the past. (“You want me to come speak to your group?! For free?! And pay for my own gas?! And provide a breakfast casserole?! I am so there!”)
So this year I have had to commit to being Boundaries Girl – able to set healthy parameters in a single bound!
The problem with that, I have to say no a lot. I hate saying no. You see, I want you to like me. I am the Sally Fields of Christian speakers. But if the author of The Husband Project wants to continue to have a husband, I knew I needed to make a change.
My marketing guru, Rob Eagar, suggested (really, bullied me into) reading The Power of A Positive No by William Ury. This book can at just the right time – and has given me the tools to set great boundaries without all the guilt.
The whole key to this system is to figure out what your BIG YES is, in order to have your Positive No. In my case, my Big Yes is to having a personal life. So it makes it easier when someone calls and wants me to take a gig that doesn’t work for me or my family, to say a good healthy no.
So you are thinking to yourself – “Who cares? I am not a speaker, I don’t need to turn down speaking at a Moms group.” OK – but what about that committee at your kid’s school that the PTA president is trying to guilt you into taking? Or when your boss asks you to take on an additional project that you know is going to require a LOT of time away from your family? Do you know what your Big Yes is?
This has been a very freeing experience for me – to say yes to the right things and no to those things that aren’t healthy.
And don’t worry – this doesn’t mean that I won’t be speaking to Moms groups – but I probably won’t be bringing the casserole…
She and her husband Roger are the parents of four young adults in San Jose, CA. When she’s not dating her husband or hanging out with her puggle Jake, Kathi is speaking at retreats, conferences and women’s events across the US.
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