Growing up, I never wanted to hear the word “No.”  It meant the death of the most exciting ideas, adventures and sometimes mischief.  I equated it to discipline, rejection and just a plain party-pooper response.  However, now that I am much older (and I would like to think a bit wiser), I came to a crossroad that challenged me to change my mindset.

My career focuses on community involvement and being visible, so I often get asked to volunteer in many ways.  Maybe it’s making cookies for the bake sale, joining a committee or local organization like the Chamber of Commerce, or sitting on a Board of Directors for a local business or non-profit.  All of these have enriched my life in so many ways, but I had reached volunteer overload.  I swear that once you volunteer, your name must appear on some secret list for all groups, individuals and organizations to call.  I got hit from every angle for years. 

While I truly enjoy helping and giving of my time, I discovered that I was in burn-out mode and spreading myself so thin that no one was getting the best of me, especially my family.  Like taffy or a rubber band…we can stretch ourselves for a long time but eventually we will snap!  This is when the real moral battle began.  The do-gooder in me jumped into the ring with practical me, and the gloves came off!  I struggled with the guilt of letting people down.  I struggled with looking incompetent if I wasn’t serving on multiple committees and boards. I struggled with the fear of not being asked again if I turned them down this time.  And if I am being honest, I also struggled with not getting the recognition that serving for these organizations provided. 

However, while I was bobbing and weaving around all of these struggles, I was sucker punched with the notion that saying “No” to others was actually saying “Yes” to me.  By changing the way I looked at things, the things I looked at changed. The negative connotation melted away, and I started to see “No” as a way to balance my crazy life.  I realized that by limiting volunteer commitments, I actually became better at everything.  I had time to give more to the few instead of giving little to the many.  My relationships with friends, my husband and my daughter grew stronger.  Most importantly, I found that I now have time to devote to the one person who suffered the most from my lack of attention – ME!  “No” gave me more: more sleep, more exercise and actually more time to read books again.

I can finally give “No” the credit it’s due. It’s the happy medium where I can give back to others and still give to myself guilt-free.  “No” is definitely the new “Yes.”

About the Author:


Kelly Domaille, Associate Broker/Coach – Domaille Real Estate at Keller Williams Premier Realty.

Kelly is a licensed Real Estate Broker and Realtor, a coach, a wife and mother…in no particular order!  She lives in Byron, Minnesota and has been a Midwesterner her whole life.  Travel, golf and having fun with family and friends go hand in hand with her motto of “Work Hard – Play Hard!”  


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