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As in life, I find it impossible to focus on any one thing.

Archive for Non-Profits

Just Say NO!

NO. This is a concept a 1-year old is beginning to know and try out – a lot. At 2, it’s the stock answer to most of Mommy’s commands. So, why is NO so difficult for adults to say? Or, rather, why is NO so difficult for me to say?

I keep busy. I like to volunteer at events, for friends, and at non-profit organizations. I go to drop-in writing groups, scrapbook evenings, stitch-n-bitch afternoons, and book groups. These activities keep me involved in outside activities, keep my brain working, and get me out of the house.

The problem starts with a question.

The scrapbook lady asks if I wouldn’t like to sell the products, getting a discount, making extra money, and joining her exclusive club of sales reps. Even though my heart flutters and I remember, in a cold sweat, previous attempts to “sell” products through multi-level marketing plans, I say, “Hmmm, let me think about it” and way too soon, the inevitable, “Yes!” pops out of my mouth.

My last crop time - December 2009

Scrapbooking-Dec 2009

The leader of the writing group, where I go to write and to listen to author readings and to participate in book group discussions and to volunteer and to be around like-minded artsy-fartsy people, asks if I wouldn’t like to be on the Board of Directors. Adding, of course, the ego-stroking words, “We could really use someone with your skills.” Again, before I can run home and beg my husband to stop me, I say, “YES!”

That's me hiding in the back

SDWI Board 2010-2011

And then, it’s no longer fun. It’s no longer a hobby or what I do to get away from work, which is bookkeeping. I’ve added bookkeeping to every activity. Ugh. I haven’t scrapbooked almost as long as I’ve been a consultant. I occasionally visit my drop-in writing group or take a class. But, the “yes” kind of killed the joy.

The lesson: Think first. Stay calm. Be conscious. As much as I love being part of a group, being involved and integral, my yes’s are an attempt to be everywhere, do everything, and know it all. That’s it; I want to know it all.

And when, finally, a commitment ends and I can lessen my load, I tell myself that next time I must say NO. At long last, I have time to begin a new hobby, which I throw myself into whole-heartedly. It’s exciting – I’m learning something new, having fun again, and meeting new people. Or, better yet, I can relax, maybe go on vacation.

The view from my lounge chair

Poolside - Cabo

But, just as I’m really beginning to enjoy my new hobby and before I get very comfortable, the new hobby leader smiles at me and says, “You know… you’d make a great…” and I’m hooked, once again.