Early in my career I said yes to EVERYTHING. Whether it was volunteering for a committee or speaking at a conference or writing an article or having my “brain picked”, if someone asked me to do it, i would jump. I don’t really know why I never said no; maybe it was the ego boost of feeling needed or valued. Sometimes it was about the always popular “exposure” and sometimes it did help get my name out there. To be blunt, that was a huge mistake. I still volunteer my time and skills, but these days I say “no” far more often than I say “yes.” Not surprisingly, it opened up a lot of my time, and a lot of my energy for things I wanted to do and people I wanted to spend more time with, and though I still struggle with saying yes to every possible opportunity I found that saying no really did open up opportunities. Being able to teach and to really grow TLF could not have happened without me saying no to one more social media networking event or that volunteer committee or whatever. And non-work activities like running and music started to become more of a part of my life, in addition to meeting new people I wouldn’t have met if i had not started to expand my life a bit. So when I do volunteering, it’s for the things that really mean a lot to me. Last month I had lunch with of friends and they asked me what I was up to. “Nothing much” I said. AND IT WAS TRUE! And it was awesome. Doing nothing actually opened me up to do more of what makes me truly happy.