Monday 25th April, 6:45am: 3 things to be grateful for…morning routine, okay tick! Stretching complete I head for the kitchen to make my brew (Yorkshire Tea only…the rest is rank) and feed Chai (my red eared slider turtle) who frantically scratches at the glass tank the minute he sees me.
This is pretty much how my mornings begin, at least weekdays…the weekends are a whole different ballgame which I will save for a later date!
The daily office commute is when I do most of my thinking and planning. After shouting bye to Chai (not that he even cares, he is already swimming around rearranging the stones in his tank), grabbing my Chanel (most idolized item) and gym kit I head to work with coffee cups in my eyes, focusing on seizing my next caffeine kick before the working day begins.
So I am a planner, I make lists, I even add things to lists to cross them off! Pretty much an organized freak and no matter how organised I am, I always seem to be busy. Not sure if it’s the lack of ability to relax but it’s busy in a good way. I like to maximize my life, from planning the next phase, exercising, spending time catching up with friends/colleagues to now cultivating niccimcshane.com, there is always something to do. The morning routine involves opening my weekly schedule to remind myself what is happening (I have literally the worst memory on the planet, hence the numerous lists and can give Dory from Nemo a run for her money!). The regular stuff was planned in: spin classes, walks home from work, 10k runs, scheduled blogging evenings, dinners, lunches, drinks, meetings and coffee dates.
I absorbed, taking a mental note of the day ahead (now getting twitchy in desperation for my skinny vanilla latte) and switched to my news feeds crazily needing to read as much as I can before the 45 min journey ends. I opened the TED app (I am a TED junkie!) and watched Shonda Rhimes: My Year of Saying Yes to Everything. Shonda is a successful woman who talks about how saying yes to things that scared her made her feel good and how making time for things she would usually say no to, has made her happier.
The cogs started turning. What if I did the same thing, for a week? Would anything change? Would anything be better or worse? How would it make me feel? Am I already blocking myself from opportunities without even realizing it? I decided to put it to the test within my personal life (I didn’t want to test it in the office for fear of taking part in a real life Hunger Games!). So there it began….I became the yes-chick (although I think I started it too soon as I really didn’t want the breakfast set that the coffee shop offered me). I started wondering if it would still count if I said yes to things whilst shaking my head!
So I did it, here’s what happened…
A friend arrived in town that very morning and suggested meeting for lunch to catch up…yes! We went to a place close to my office, The Landing Point, Fullerton Bay which is where I frequently visit on an evening to write my blogs but being there for lunch was just divine and somehow provided a different kind of inspiration. She excitedly began to tell me of a new property she had bought, how her business was shaping up and that some well deserved relaxation time was in order. We chatted about life in general, what has been happening in each others lives and it left me realizing that no matter how busy you are with work or home life, that it is really important to take time out for just you. How often did I do that? I used to do it a lot, I used to have pool days or read a book but I found I was questioning myself on why I don’t do that now? I have too many thoughts going on in my head sometimes, I am an over thinker and allow other peoples negativity or negative words to seep in and affect me. So keeping busy is a great way to stop worrying or overthinking. I needed to change that.
The next day a close friend who I hadn’t seen for some time, again suggested lunch – yes! This time at Verve Marina Bay Sands. Yey! I love their Warm Goats Cheese Salad! She excitedly told me about her recent holiday including how she went snorkeling for the first time and discussing recent events which have made her stronger (how awesome she went snorkeling, faced her fears and is now absolutely on top of the world for doing that!). The chat developed into our general lives, what are the things which have either upset us or what have we done recently which we enjoyed. Positivity and self respect were key words during our tete-a-tete and on sharing some of the ways we both deal with this, she kindly praised me for my outlook on remaining positive, dealing with negative or cruel people and suggested I write about this to help others. I had never thought about that and added it to my list (yes another list!) of blog ideas.
That afternoon I bumped into an ex-colleague on my way to collect caffeine fix #3 and suggested a catch up wine after work the following day – yes! We sauntered along to The Black Swan, perfect as I am engulfed by the Gatsby feel when I step through the doors (still annoyed I didn’t wear pearls!). The conversation centered around her current job, what life is like after leaving our company and what challenges or differences she experiences. As I am about to experience this myself in coming months, it was a great opportunity to speak to someone who doesn’t pretend the grass is greener, but who was open and honest about opportunities. The thoughts then started creeping in of what’s next for me, I am that positive about things I tend to think it’s okay it will all work out! I know that is a great way to think but this catch up initiated numerous questions around what I needed to consider about making my next move. Yes I now have a list of things to do!
I know I said I wasn’t applying this to work but I don’t think this counts as it’s something I am passionate about! I was asked to speak at a huddle about Personal Branding and how social media such as LinkedIn can help. Every single nerve went into a panic, I swear I could almost see my skin jumping from my blood pumping so hard and fast, this is not my comfort zone. I can talk about my learnings on personal branding and deliver it with passion, but to all those faces…what was I going to say?! My calm confident reply…yes! I knew my previous boss was attending which made it ten times worse, thoughts running through my head of oh god, what if he thinks what I am saying is naff! None the less, my turn came, I can still feel sweaty palm syndrome but I delivered the message clearly and included everything I wanted to say. Both my current and previous bosses supported the message at the end and then just like that, it was done… it wasn’t all that bad and I would do it again!
And then it comes to the Friday evening question, “Fancy a quick drink at Arab Bar?” (I was supposed to be heading to a Last Friday of the Month event, but that’s okay they were going to be there for hours, I would still make it)…so yes! Each one of us was adamant we were just having a couple, not making a night of it and wanted clear heads for the following day.
Yeah right. Now note to all readers. If you choose to put saying yes for a week to the test, do not, I repeat, do not, tell anyone you are doing this! I was tricked. A couple of glasses in the conversation turned to my blog, lots of interest, lots of praise and here it came… “What are you writing about next?” – dam the wines, it slipped out! Therefore the word no was not accepted for the rest of the evening!
Taxi to Boat Quay? – yes!
Wine? – yes!
Karaoke? – yes!
A sausage roll? (don’t ask) – yes!
Far too many Jagerbombs? – yes!
And thank god, the final question of the night was, “I think I need to go home, would you like to share a taxi?” – Y.E.S!!!!
Needless to say the stretching and the skipping to the kitchen to make my Yorkshire did not happen the next day. Far from it. I did however make it out for lunch. Impressed much.
Looking back over the week, I may have said no to some of these things because of a spin class I had booked, because I didn’t think I would have time or for some other reason. Sometimes saying no is easy, it keeps you in your comfort zone.
What I learned this week however was that saying yes hasn’t massively changed my life but it has made me think about things in a different way. Taking ‘me time’ is allowed (free of guilt), I can share ideas on positivity, nothing is ever as bad as it seems and letting your hair down really is okay!
Now of course, I do have to add that saying yes in this sense involves applying common sense and decency, nothing which deviates you from your morals. Of course, please don’t say yes to things which will hurt someone, especially someone you love, or hurt a relationship. Be moralistic, stick to your values and what defines you. Don’t do silly things or be cruel with words. Be kind. Treat others how you would like to be treated and enjoy the opportunities a real yes could offer.