August 2, 2010

No Means No. Really.

Lately, I'm too frequently reminded of an old Odd Couple TV episode in which Tony Randall's character, Felix explains to Oscar, played by Jack Klugman that "One should never assume. You'll make an ASS out of U and ME."  Often some of those closest to me assume that because my entrepreneurial venture allows me the opportunity to work from home on occasion that I'm available to do favors, run errands and be a sounding board for life's big decisions.  Sometimes these very people who are oblivious to my hectic work schedule will attend my company's jewelry events and marvel at how they all came together.  They'll go on and on about the setup, food or the wine.  They'll exclaim "Oh, your jewelry is so beautiful. When do you get the time to do all of this?"  Yet, they will not hesitate to ask me to pick up a bottle of lotion at Saks if they know I'm headed into New York City for supplies or they'll call in the middle of my peak production time to ask my opinion on a critical career move. 

Now, I care deeply for these folks and some were the only ones who stood by me in the early formation of my business.  They listened to me moan and occasionally bawl my eyes out over my painstaking efforts to build a company I could be proud of.  A lot of them are still listening and for that, I am forever grateful.  But there is currently a major disconnect.  I believe some assume that because there is an outward illusion that my business runs itself (a direct result of my business manager's years of excellent advice, extremely careful planning and a Goddess Assistant from the planet Wonderful) that I have an overflowing well of free time .  I take full responsibility for some of these assumptions.  I have, at times, agreed to pick up something or listened to unscheduled tales of woe in the middle of the work day.  However, I'm now committed to regaining control of my working life through the power of saying "no" when these requests are made.  Yeah, I get these slightly dumbfounded stares or very pregnant pauses in phone conversations.  And inevitably it will take two or three no's to some before it sinks in that things are no longer the same.  I've worked out ways to bypass the feelings of guilt nor do I feel I owe anyone an explanation.  I am more vocal about my schedule and obligations.  In the long run, those who really care for me understand that I'm on a mission that requires as few distractions as possible.  Those that don't are not my responsibility.   No has to really mean no for now.

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