Early in my career, a co-worker had a sign posted on her cube. It was a simple phrase and it stuck with me.
Part of the reason it stuck was she took great pride in referencing it when people entered her space with their “emergencies” tossing them into her lap hoping she’d embrace the concern and fix it.
She was one of the most peaceful people I’d met at that early date in my work history. She learned this lesson early and was a great contributor and teammate with solid boundaries.
Whenever I’m involved with opportunities that feel emergency based or poorly planned, her sign’s words of wisdom automatically pop into my head.
It’s caused me to learn to say no, to observe myself and my behavior, and let my gut direct my actions and answers.
Oh, what did it say?
“Poor planning on your part does not necessarily constitute an automatic emergency on my part.”
Simple and clear, it reminds me to pause and stop volunteering from unintentional fire drills others invite me to.