Let’s chat about BOUNDARIES. *cue the panicking*

We all sometimes feel like the word “yes” is like your best friend. “Can you show this house tomorrow?” Yes. “Can you take on another client?” Yes. “Can you help me move this couch into my new place?” Sure, let’s freakin’ go! But, just like an overstuffed closet (not speaking from experience of course…), constantly saying yes can leave you feeling cramped, overwhelmed, and eventually, buried under the weight of your commitments.

The Perils of Perpetual Yes

Like many agents and operation professionals, I’ve struggled with the knee-jerk reaction to say yes to every request that came my way. The desire to be helpful, to avoid conflict, and to prove myself often led me to overload my schedule. While it might have seemed like the responsible thing to do, the consequences were dire: late nights, constant stress, and a one-way ticket to my doctor’s office with a side of burnout.

Why Do We Say Yes?

There are several psychological drivers behind our inability to say no:

  • People-Pleasing: Wanting to be liked and avoid disappointing others.
  • Fear of Negative Perceptions: Worrying that saying no will make us look lazy or uncooperative.
  • Guilt and Misplaced Obligation: Feeling like we must help others, even at our own expense.
  • Lack of Assertiveness: Struggling to assert our own needs and priorities.
  • Unclear Job Responsibilities: Not knowing exactly what’s expected of us, leading to overcommitting.

And sometimes, it’s like Taylor Swift says, “It’s me, hi. I’m the problem, it’s me.” Recognizing that we’re often our own worst enemy is the first step to change.

The Solution: Setting Boundaries

Learning to say no respectfully can be a game-changer. Here’s how you can do it without turning into the office Grinch:

  1. Prioritize Your Workload: Know your current commitments and deadlines. A clear picture of your workload helps you make informed decisions about new tasks.
  2. Talk to Your Manager: Have open discussions about priorities and what’s realistically expected of you. A good manager will understand and support your need to set boundaries.
  3. Be Direct, Not Apologetic: When you need to decline a task, be clear and direct. Try saying, “Unfortunately, my plate is full right now,” instead of over-apologizing.
  4. Offer Alternatives: If possible, provide other solutions. “Could we revisit this next week?” or “Perhaps [colleague] has some capacity” shows you’re still committed to finding a solution, just not at the expense of your sanity.

The Takeaway

Saying no isn’t about being selfish; it’s about self-preservation. Setting boundaries protects your time, energy, and the quality of your work. It allows you to give your best where it matters most, without feeling like a stressed-out real estate superhero.

Embrace the No

It’s okay to say no. In fact, it’s more than okay—it’s necessary. Next time you’re tempted to agree to something that will overload your schedule, take a deep breath, think about your priorities, and remember that it’s perfectly acceptable to say, “No, thank you.”

Just like staging a house, setting boundaries is about creating a space that works for you, so you can thrive and perform at your best. And who knows? You might even find that saying no gives you the freedom to say yes to the opportunities that truly excite you. After all, if Taylor Swift can own up to being her own problem, we can too. Let’s reclaim our time and energy, one “no” at a time.

  1. Montana Branco says:

    Solid info and advice!! Always love a good read like this!!!! Thank you, Lauren!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *