If I Could I Would But Sometimes I Just Cant

Sometimes you just need to stop the world and give yourself permission; permission to say no, permission to let go of an avenue that has been unsuccessful or just permission to stop.  We have to learn to give ourselves permission because we put ourselves last.  It is time to stop putting yourself last – now, today.


When someone is in transition they have to change their attitude, approach and attitude to one of selling themselves, putting themselves out there all the time and to keep a strong, positive attitude despite a number of rejections or voids.


When someone is in a period of career progression they have to continually be evaluating not only their current actions and position but of their desired future position to ensure that their actions align with the goal of moving forward.  They must be constantly alert, ready to take even the smallest opportunity and make it their own.


When a small business owner is building their business they are constantly marketing, selling and pushing forward – ever keen to every potential connection.  Adjusting their networking statement to fit with their audience to build that instant rapport; continually building the roads of opportunities one brick at a time.


No matter what the situation, you are continually on alert – continually pushing forward.  Sometimes you push so much that you forget to take care of the most important part of the whole strategy – you!


That is when you have to give yourself permission to just STOP and breath, recoup, let go, downshift – just stop the world for just a minute or two.


You see, as you are pushing forward there is another element at play: people are reaching out to you as much as you are to them, for help, guidance, connections – continually taking from you as well.  We may not recognize how much we give of ourselves to other until we have reached critical mass and we are exhausted.  At which point it becomes a dilemma to say no.


You want to help, you want to give to others to help them and yourself so you feel bad for saying no, or worse yet – ending a connection.  Not all connections are good or healthy and we need to learn to stop the world, take a real look at them and evaluate them on two levels:  how we can give and get and how it affects us personally.


There have been times that I have had to end connections because I found that, even though they were the nicest people in the world, they were sucking the life out of me.  They seemed to have the best of intentions to be beneficial for me, but in reality it turned out they were asking way more than they were ever getting.


That last thought may sound selfish, as though I evaluate every relationship or connection for what it can do for me.  That is certainly not the intent or the truth.  I do, however, evaluate connections based on my mental health and using integrity.


On several occasions I have been asked to join certain networking groups and honestly they would be great for me.  I’m unique and I could get a lot of referrals and business from these groups.  I have not joined due to an ethical issue:  in no way could I give as much as I get and I do not think that would be fair.  I’m not going to exploit them, can’t do it.  This was a no brainer for me.


But cutting connections due to the fact that someone was sucking the happiness out of me was something I had to force myself to do, then force myself to be okay with it.  Realize that at the end of the day it is you and you alone that is responsible for reaching your goals, deciding your future and making yourself happy.


This is an incredible responsibility and one that you should take full ownership of, which means putting yourself above others at times.  Your happiness is not dependent on if someone else is upset with you for not giving them all of your time and energy – that is not a connection that is a parasite.


I know there are many, many people out there that have a hard time with this concept and the execution – I often work through this issue with my clients.


That is where saying, “I would if I could but I just can’t” comes into play.  It is not that you do not want to help others, but honestly it is not worth the personal sacrifice to do so – and that is ok!


Some will be upset with you, some will understand – and honestly, I really don’t care which category they fall into because this is about you and maintaining your personal health.  I do not mean to sound cold here, but this is my job as a coach.  If you are not going to stand up for yourself then I will.


I often tell my clients if they have not been able to cross that bridge and reclaim their personal space to blame me.  If they need to cut a connection I give them permission to tell the other person that they are working with a career coach and she has them on a pretty strict strategy and is making them cut down on some of the avenues they are pursuing.  Go ahead, blame me, I’m a big girl – I can take it.




Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.



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