Say Yes to Things That Scare You

It’s one way of avoiding the exhaustion and apathy that can come with a boring job.

By SHARE

Many people I know suffer from an epidemic of busyness—a result of saying yes to many things and no to few.

I do not, however, belong in this camp. In fact, I say no to many things: No, I do not want to come to your party next weekend. No, I would rather not join your kickball team.

Many of my noes are unwise and have significant consequences, as in: No, I do not want to pick up the phone. No, I do not feel like going grocery shopping.

But I have trouble saying no to things that scare me (hat tip to Eleanor Roosevelt). If the thought of a particular activity triggers my fight-or-flight response, then I'm pretty likely to do it. (Granted, my way of saying yes tends to go something like: Yes! No, wait. Maybe. OK. Oh, no, definitely no, I can't do that, no way....Yes, OK. Maybe.)

This week, I covered the issue of underworked employees. Workers who don't have enough to do may suffer similar feelings of exhaustion and apathy as those felt by workers who are overburdened with work and forced to labor at a frenetic pace. The experts I talked with had some great advice, from avoiding isolation by talking about your accomplishments regularly with your boss to negotiating for more control over aspects of your work—like your schedule or the projects you're working on—rather than expecting control because you feel you've earned it.

I think I have, in part, avoided long stints of boring work by tackling things that make me very nervous. Those choices have sometimes kept me awake at night, but they haven't, in general, let me down during the day.

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