by Tracee Sioux

The good is the enemy of the best.

So says John C. Maxwell in Developing the Leader Within You. I’m reading the chapter on priorities as I try to balance my work, with my family, with my relatives, with my church, with my exercise, with my budget, with my friends, with my community involvement.

I’ve simply become uncomfortably busy and I dislike it. I think it’s costing me something.

My kids are upset when I work because they aren’t actually getting “quality” time, they are just getting run all over town doing good deeds for people, maintenance of life errands, going to the gym or expected to amuse themselves while I write.

They are with me, but without my attention.

I think everything I do is, in some way, important to someone. If it’s not an important activity for me, I find my husband thinks it’s vital.

Maxwell says the key to being a leader is to say no to the good and only say yes to the best. People who try to do everything, he says, are mediocre at everything. People who try to do one thing become great at that one thing.

I find myself being mediocre at a lot of things, late more often than I should be, and not being able to focus on the things I really want to do. Yet, I can’t help but feel guilty about the good things I say no to, like running errands for an elderly relative, babysitting a child whose parents are sick or teaching my daughter’s Sunday school class. It’s not just my guilt holding me back either, I find people’s reactions when I try to say no less than pleasant. Several times I’ve found people to be downright angry about my saying no to good things.

Yes, you can try to have it all, but you won’t be any good at it, seems to be the moral of the story. How women struggle with this issue.

Hopefully, my daughter’s generation will have more experience and history behind trying to have it all and will learn to choose what is best versus what is good. I can tell you it doesn’t feel at all empowering to be doing everything, just a little sloppily.

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#1 jen on 08.06.07 at 8:00 pm

School starts in three weeks, and I think you will find that things will get a bit better then.

Also, if I get up really early I get SO much acomplished by noon.

#2 Terri Holley on 08.09.07 at 4:11 pm

I agree with Maxwell. As a life coach the issue of balance comes up quite a bit. I see balance as a place you never reach. It’s a dynamic state of being that is based on choices- things we say “yes” to and things we say “no” to, all brought into focus by what is most important. Once we are very clear about where our choices are coming from we move toward balance with a sense of fulfillment. I think fulfillment is the key here. We can make choices but never feel fully satisfied. What would be some fulfilling choices for you? I love your site. I have a nine year old daughter and can relate to what is here. Thank you!

Terri Holley
Momentum Health and Life Coaching, LLC

#3 So Sioux Me on 08.09.07 at 5:46 pm

Thank Terri,

I hope you’ll come back often and share the link with all your friends that have been blessed with daughters.

I generally find that my choices are usually in sinc with what I want to accomplish most. However, I am frequently met with anger or resistance from my significant others who want me to make different choices. The balance for me gets cloudy when I’m attempting to meet the need of everyone else.

I don’t particularly enjoy the fallout when I do say “no” to perfectly good things that will throw my own priorities out of whack. Then I find myself dealing with a bunch of boundary issues and not just my own priorities. For instance, just how much input should my family/husband/kids have in defining what my priorities are.

When I read the book it sounds so logical and right and easy. Yet it becomes more difficult in practice when I say “no” and my husband, children, friends or relatives don’t agree with what my priorities are.

Something else I find is that I might incur anger, frustatration or resentment when I choose to redefine my own priorities. For instance, recently I found that I have been dedicating too much time and energy to people who do not appreciate me or what I do for them. So, obviously I should stop that. Yet, I’m met with all sorts of negative fallout from others when I attempt to correct the imbalance.


#4 Happy Feet Beats Bratz — The Girl Revolution on 09.15.09 at 3:02 pm

[...] violating my goal to say no to good things as I vowed to do in my column Priorities, I am the new coach of Ainsley’s soccer [...]

#5 Dear Mrs. Franklin, - Tracee Sioux, Law of Attraction Coach — Tracee Sioux, Law of Attraction Coach on 11.21.13 at 4:06 pm

[…] is saying no to good things so terribly painful for […]

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