A couple of years ago I had to dig up most of my herb bed and flower beds because the weeds took over. Seeing the pictures I took back then gave me an idea for an analogy. (You can see a video here.) Just like weeds can choke other plants by crowding them, all the things you take on can choke the life out of your creativity.

Every time you say yes when you wish you could say no, it squeezes a bit tighter, pushing your creativity into a corner. Your list of responsibilities grows, and space for creativity shrinks. If you let it go too far, that corner where you keep your creativity gets so small you feel like your creativity is gone.

So how do you avoid choking your creativity?

By not being the girl who can’t say no, and only taking on what you can handle without giving up what’s enjoyable and fun. If it isn’t:

  • fun
  • enjoyable
  • essential
  • yours to take care of

say NO. Tasks can be eliminated, delegated, or delayed if they’re not on your list of priorities. That list should be pretty short too by the way.

There are many polite ways to say no in a way that won’t hurt anyone’s feelings, and once you get used to saying it, it gets easier.

30 Comments

  1. Dana Leigh Lyons

    So true! Making and staying true to a short list of what’s REALLY important, including creative expression, can be transformative. There’s always going to be stuff on the to-do list….but such a good practice to place it aside at regular intervals and branch out in creative, organic directions.

    Reply
    • Linda Ursin

      Yes. Unfortunately it takes a long time to get there, unless you have someone pushing you 🙂

      Reply
  2. Johanna

    Hmm I am wondering about this post alot! I totally agree about not overcommitting. However, lately I have been wanting to give more and this requires saying “yes.” From reading your post I am finding that it is crucial for me to say “yes” to the things that bring me joy!! I am finding though that these yes’s are not things I have to take care of but can be things I want to take care of! Thank you!

    Reply
    • Linda Ursin

      Saying yes to the right things for you isn’t wrong 🙂 It’s not about saying no to everything.

      Reply
  3. Lorraine

    Great analogy. The effects of saying yes instead of no can easily go unnoticed until it’s too late. Love your point about keeping the criteria short, simple and swift to make well grounded decisions.

    Reply
  4. Suzie Cheel

    yes so true, I know have just 3 things on a heart shaped postit each day that has been allowing me to get more completed and i always make time each day for my creativity.

    Reply
    • Linda Ursin

      That sounds great Suzie 🙂 I’m not down to 3, but I’m doing a lot less of what doesn’t bring me joy, and a lot less of other people’s tasks.

      Reply
  5. Amy Putkonen

    Hi Linda,

    Interesting concept. I was talking with a friend of mine yesterday and she mentioned about this idea of being very particular about what you bring into your space from a creative standpoint. (We were talking about all the “projects” that pile up, uncompleted.) Yes, this is important to remember. Especially for us creative types that always have a lot of things going!

    Reply
    • Linda Ursin

      Yes 🙂 I once did a video with the title “Who do you leave your stash to? “

      Reply
  6. Linda S Fitzgerald

    Yep, learning to say no is one of life’s most difficult challenges. Especially if we are in need of the affirmation that comes with “yes”. Get over it and learn to say no if it will cause angst for you – and for others involved with your “yes”.

    Blessings,
    Linda

    Reply
    • Linda Ursin

      You’re right Linda. It’s easy to slip into needing the approval people give us when we do everything for them. It’s definitely possible to get out of it. We just have to start small.

      Reply
  7. Betty Eitner

    Linda, your posts are always so poignant in your posts and touch on points that remind us of the things we may know but are now acting on… Thank you!

    Reply
  8. Diane Howell Topkis

    I love the weeding analogy. I’m a huge gardener and often find something to blog about related to my business of career coaching. A while ago after hours on my knees weeding, I wrote one on Weeding Out Your Life Garden – getting rid of relationship and things that no longer serve you well. So agree that not saying No can block your creativity. Love your image – did you sketch it?

    Reply
    • Linda Ursin

      Thanks Diane 🙂 I did do the illustration myself, yes. I do all my own graphics, when possible.

      I’ve decided to try to relate more posts to other things in life. It makes for interesting posts, and it’s more fun to create illustrations for them 🙂 Weeds are a favorite of mine, I even wrote a book about them 🙂

      Reply
  9. Deb Coman

    What an interesting and true way to look at what can happen to our creativity if we don’t protect it with boundaries. I really enjoyed this post. Thanks for the reminder to protect and nurture our creative side from the “weeds.”

    Reply
    • Linda Ursin

      Thanks Deb, and thanks for sharing it 🙂

      Reply
  10. Anjara

    So very true, Linda. And a very important reminder, we usually use our own kindness to choke our power, and creativity is very powerful and liberating.
    It seem hard to say No sometimes, but it can become easier with the practice of setting healthy boundaries.
    thank you <3

    Reply
    • Linda Ursin

      Yes 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and leaving your input Anjara.

      Reply
  11. Deborah Weber

    What a fabulous way to think about this – I always like a good garden analogy. One of the things I’m celebrating about myself is my increasing ability to say yes to only the things that are juicy joyful to me. It makes such a huge difference!

    Reply
  12. Linda Ursin

    I like them too 🙂 There are lots of things you can relate to plants. That does make a huge difference. It feels great

    Reply
  13. Faith

    This is a great topic! I also loved the dramatic video! Whether or not one’s easily able to say no depends on her personality. I’m fortunate that I am easily able to say no, but that comes with it’s own difficulties because people can view that as me being uncaring and unhelpful. Sigh.

    Reply
    • Linda Ursin

      I’m not sure you posted in the right place. There is no video about a woman here.

      Reply
  14. Joanne

    I agree, you need to say no sometimes, so you don’t get bogged down with projects you don’t want to be working on but I’m also a believer of sometimes you need to do things that you don’t want to do to get to where you want to be.

    Reply
    • Linda Ursin

      That’s true 🙂 But this is mostly about stopping doing things that are not yours to begin with, that others can do, and those things that really feel wrong.

      Reply
  15. Tammy

    What a great comparison, weeds to the lack of creativity,
    So true. Creativity and all things that bring us joy make such a difference in how we feel and how we deal
    With life.

    Reply
  16. sherill

    Hi, Very well explained. learning to say No helps in many ways than we can imagine, to be a YES person is not really good for anyone. Thanks for sharing. Great Reminder for all of us .

    Reply
    • Linda Ursin

      It’s a very important skill to have 🙂 Thanks for visiting

      Reply

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