Tuesday, January 22, 2013

(Learning to) Just Say No

Me, an O'Shaughnessy, Standing in front of the O'Shaughnessy Chapel at Kilmacduagh
Castle just outside of Gort, County Galway.

It all goes back to the nuns, of course. Most any psychological issue does. It's the law. My specific issue I fault them with today, is my need for power.

Sister Mary Gerard planted the seed in first grade by asking me to serve on the student council. And by "ask" I mean demand of you in a God Fatherly Offer You Can't Refuse sort of way. So I became a member and at the first student council meeting I was asked to vote on the color we should paint the bathrooms. (Just raise your hand if you've heard the story before. Raise both hands if you know about the raising your hand part)

I chose green and there was no turning back.

I've been on hundreds of nursing committees, task forces, steering committees and paradigm shift gatherings, I've been elected to offices, and volunteered for those I wasn't elected for. I've lectured and collaborated and contributed. I took charge, took over, took attendance, you name it, I took it. Whether it was nursing or farming I had to be in the midst of things.

What can I say? I like to be involved, I like to be included, I like to be boss. Sometimes I volunteered because I really had good intentions and wanted to help but if I am honest, really honest, I have to say I got involved because I like the attention. I wish it was a more honorable reason but sadly, not always true.

Today, I said "No" 

I was asked to serve on the board of directors of a Not-For-Profit Farm Entity I have great respect for, one where  I think I could do some good work. But it's time for me to shut up (some) and step back and let others do what they can probably all do far better than I can. I mean. lets face it. Know- it- alls, can be pretty annoying. So I thanked the caller for thinking of me but I said "No".

It's also part of our grand plan to keep downsizing our farm and our lives. In order to focus on selling our farm and business, and then completing my novel (in year three I am embarrassed to report) I need to back out and shut up.

It felt good to say "No". A relief really. And I'm sure some very capable youngster will be asked now instead, one who has  lots of energy and enthusiasm and will do a very fine job. With extra time I hope to gain I plan to really work hard to sell this farm, working more closely WITH my husband instead of standing up in front of crowds talking ABOUT my husband and our farm.

At least it's my plan


  1. Those Irish towers (Cloigtheachs) are simply STUNNING.

    I know what you mean about committees etc. For a short while I lived in a rural part of England, where we owned 'The Big House'. I was almost forced onto every wretched committee going. I simply wasn't allowed to say NO.

  2. Good for you for saying no. Now you can focus on what is important for you yourself rather than trying to serve other people's needs. Well done!

  3. Good job! Gold star for you :)

  4. Saying no gives you a chance to turn your attention to other things. Atta girl.

  5. I'm glad you could do what is right for you and glad you feel good about it! I didn't go to Catholic school, but my dad did, so I apparently got raised the same way!

  6. It somehow takes women like us decades to learn the word "no". Good for you!