Choosing Myself and Saying No

It’s been a strange few months here in Chaos in Kent.  A few months where I have realised that choosing myself does not necessarily have to be selfish.  Choosing Myself is essential if I want to have a life worth living.

Choosing Myself:

Choosing MyselfI made the decision last month to Choose Myself.  I have decided to give it a year’s trial.

Choosing myself has certainly given me more quality time with my family.

Choosing myself has also made me happier and certainly more productive.  Giving myself the chance to do things for me – without the usual guilt trip of not doing something for others – has meant I am thinking clearer; I am more able to make good decisions and I’m procrastinating less.

Yes my name is Debs and I am was a procrastinator.

I lived in Mañana Land.  That magical place where the diet starts, the tasks get started/finished, the calls get made and the fitness regime starts.  Do you know it?

“Oh I’ll start the diet tomorrow – but first I will eat every unhealthy calorie in the house”

“Oh I’ll download that fitness app but it’s no good starting it today in the middle of the week, I’ll start it on Monday”

“I will write a great long to do list but that’s a task in itself, so I’ll tackle the other items tomorrow”

Choosing myself has meant that I am looking after me and mine a lot more.  Choosing myself means the diet has started (mid week – no excuses), along with the fitness regime and the to do list is being tackled regularly.  I am making time for my slimpod and finding the time to do the Couch to 5K (currently walking/jogging on the spot in front of the TV).  My bullet journal is also helping me to stay on top of my to do list.

Saying No

I have also found myself saying No more.  I was living in the social world arena of FOMO (fear of missing out) and was saying yes to every opportunity.  As many of you will know this just doesn’t work.

The fear of missing out was huge though, so I kept going!

Then I started the Daring Greatly e-course by Brene Brown over at Courage Works.  Like many things, I had bought this and then put off starting it.

The fear of missing out made me purchase it (along with a real passion for Brene Brown’s work).  Her books “The Gifts of Imperfection“, “Daring Greatly” and “I thought it was just me” had a huge impact on me and I made some real life changes after reading them.

However, like many things, life takes over and you find yourself reverting back to bad habits.  I found myself back to where I began.  Saying yes to everything and then feeling inadequate because I couldn’t do it.

This year, I found myself constantly feeling tired, unwell and just stressed.  I was overwhelmed and the people paying for this were my family.  I was absent, even when I was physically present.  Hubby understood and suggested I had a break.

So I took a trip to Torquay for some quality chat with my lovely friend, Annie.  On the way there, I listened to Brene Brown’s Power of Vulnerability course and as I passed Stonehenge, I knew that something had to give.  I realised that my FOMO was brought on by my fear of not being enough.

So that weekend, I took advantage of having some me time and read an amazing short book.  Become the Best You by Renee Davis of Mummtries.com; it had been recommended by Alice from The Filling Glass  (both really great blogs if you are looking for new blogs to read).  What can I say?  Wow, a really amazing book.  Renee is very honest about her life, her choices and the changes she made.

As I lay in my bed, reading in peace (total bliss by the way, you really need to get a chance to do this), the book together with everything I had been listening to really got the old thought processes going.  However, soon there were too many thoughts and I was getting overwhelmed.  So what did I do?

I like lists.

  • I made a list of what made me happy.
  • I made a list of what made a difference.
  • I made a list of pros and cons.
  • I made a list of my fears.
  • I made a list of my hopes.
  • I made a list of how I could make a difference.
  • I made a list of how I would enjoy making a difference.
  • I made a list of the negative things in my life.
  • I made a list of the positive things in my life.
  • I made a list of what I had the power to change.
  • I made several lists.

Then last month, I made a difficult decision and stood down from Special Needs Jungle as a Director.  This was a hard decision but with the stress of trying to find suitable secondary schools for the twins and my work with Bringing Us Together, I found myself struggling to focus, struggling to sleep and struggling to balance everything.

When I joined SNJ, I was sitting on the SE7 regional steering group, chairing the Kent Change Board and chairing Kent PEPS and also, let’s not forget, raising three children with special needs.  In addition, my Youtube video “Today” meant I was fairly well known in the world of SEND but that was because my FOMO meant I said yes to everything.  After reading Brene Brown’s books the first time round, I stood down from all of that (well, not the parenting bit, obviously).

I am proud of what we’ve achieved with Special Needs Jungle.  When I joined, just over three years ago, we had never hit over 900 views in a day and had less than 1K followers on FB.  I can still remember the days when we hit 1K for the first time on both of those.  Three years later, 900 views a day is unheard of and now, SNJ has almost 9K followers on FB.

So, this was not an easy decision for me to make, nor was it one I rushed in to.  It definitely made me feel vulnerable.  However, I am focussing on the value I brought to the site and the exposure I helped us to gain.  I know it will continue to grow and I am happy about the role I played in making it the success it is.

What now?

The course is helping me to focus and to dare greatly.  So instead of the FOMO, I am able to focus on what I enjoy.

One of the things I have really loved in the last year is helping individuals.  I get many direct messages asking for advice or help and I love it when we get a result that makes a difference.  I also love using my coaching skills to help people to reach their goals.

My big love though is delivering workshops and this year, so far, has been filled with invitations to speak at conferences, deliver workshops and work on a consultancy basis with organisations wanting to work better with families.

I know if I leave a workshop knowing it has made a difference to one person then I feel it is a success.  I was chatting about this with Yvonne Newbold from Special Parents Handbook last week and we both agreed

 if we can’t change the system then maybe we can change individuals.   tweet

So here’s to a year of choosing myself, saying no and changing individuals.

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7 Responses

  1. Debs, this sounds wonderful! Putting yourself first definitely doesn’t mean the end of the world! I have been making extra effort to do family things and that has made my writing/blogging harder but it is really positive for me and everyone else too. I’m constantly working in achieving the right balance. I love your idea to help individuals, don’t forget that individuals are what makes up society, so you might find bigger changes happening anyway.

    • Debs Aspland says:

      Oh Alice, you have played a role in this. Recommending Renee’s book and some of your own posts made me think a lot. Thanks for your lovely comments, it means a lot xxx

  2. Renee Davis says:

    Absolutely loved reading this. There’s a reason they tell you to put your own mask on first in the event of a plane crash, at the end of the day if we end up broken it’s no good for anyone. Good for you for putting yourself first.

    As for FOMO, I think it’s a huge problem for a lot of people. Stepping back and not being afraid to say no takes real courage.

    This was a great first post for me to read here Debs, I will definitely be back 🙂

    • Debs Aspland says:

      Renee, your book was read during that weekend in Torquay – I need to update the post to reflect that too. Will update in the morning and share links to your site.

      Thank you for your comment, having such great feedback from someone I admire is a great way to end the day.

      Have a great weekend.

    • Debs Aspland says:

      Have updated the post to reflect the part your book played in the weekend of Choosing Myself. Sorry it took me so long, Easter holidays are always fun but take me away from my desk.

  3. Oh I have the FOMO too. But hopefully balanced with a good sense of needing to protect myself from a breakdown… Like you, what I enjoy most is helping other people. So if you need anyone to come and speak with you, just ask! Good luck with your new path and thanks for all the work you have put into the SNJ team, which has of course helped us all along the way xx
    Stephs Two Girls recently posted…AAA Day Two (April Autism Awareness)My Profile

    • Debs Aspland says:

      Thanks Steph, I am definitely working on getting that balance sorted. Watch this space as I keep trying new ways to get that balance. Any tips would, of course, be welcome.

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