The Most Likely Way You’ll Take Back Your Time

Having a baby has changed the way I make choices.

Time with Baby Girl McGraw is such a big YES for me that it puts every other decision into sharper focus.

“Do I want to take on this project?” turns into, “Do I want to trade an hour with our long-awaited little one? Do I want to source childcare for this time? Is it worth it to me?”

I’m hooked on the fierce clarity. But the challenge, of course, is to translate thought into action – to LIVE from that place of integrity.

Is this something you struggle with, dear one? Then let me tell you about a magical phrase that helps me.

Hell Yeah or No

This past week I heard Martin Stellar quote Derek Sivers’ line for the over-committed, “It’s either Hell Yeah or No.”

(Quick note: This line doesn’t apply to every situation. When you’re starting out in your career, for example, it makes sense to say yes to every opportunity to learn. But it’s a helpful framework when you’ve reached capacity in a given area.)

Something about Martin’s take on this familiar concept really resonated with me.

Specifically, I loved his line: “There is no Hell Maybe.”

When I heard that, I paused the podcast (linked here). I played it back several times to let it sink in.

There is no Hell Maybe.

Let the Maybes Go

What would it look like to tell yourself the unvarnished truth?

What is REALLY a Hell Yeah for you? And what have you been pretending to say a wholehearted yes to, when in reality the most you can muster is a maybe?

And what might happen if you let that go?

As one of my dearest friends put it recently, “Maybes rob us of our energy.” Letting them go is a turbo-charge for body, mind, and soul.

For example, I’m admitting to myself (and to you) that two of the commitments on my calendar for the next month are not true Yeses for me in this season.

So, I get to let them go.

By which I mean: I get to decline/RSVP politely, and feel waves of false guilt. I get to hear old judgmental tapes play: “But you SHOULD want to do that! What kind of PERSON are you?” And so forth.

I get to feel pretty darn uncomfortable for a few minutes.

But when the discomfort passes? Then it’s the sweetness of living in integrity. It’s the freedom that comes when I’m not divided against myself.

So that’s my challenge to you, friends …

1. Let just one “maybe” go.
2. Leave a comment below and let me know what you’ve released.

Wouldn’t it be sweet, to live more lightly? Maybe even as sweet as baby smiles.

Yours with gratitude,

(Originally sent October 2019)


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6 thoughts on “The Most Likely Way You’ll Take Back Your Time

  1. Olga Jendrek says:

    Hi Caroline,
    I have been thinking about this too. I have many requests from a friend to participate in different activities. I sometimes feel bad to decline but have realized I have to choose which invitations to accept without feeling guilty for saying no. So I do it and I believe they will understand that I can attend some things and not all events. So I do have a better grip on it now and don’t feel bad to say no.
    Aunt Olga
    Your daughter is adorable by the way.

    • hi Aunt Olga, it’s great to see you here! And you said it so well – you get to choose which invitations to accept without feeling guilty, because you’re grown up and you get to do what you want!

      Sending a very big hug and love to you as well, and thank you for your kind words about our little one! I hope someday in the not-too-distant future we can all meet in person again.

  2. Ted says:

    Hi Caroline,

    I’ve taken your advice and called out for the remainder of the week. Just the daytime hours as the calls during that time are so disruptive to my progress, and I do have calendar events to deal with as well.

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