Your “yes or no” will determine much of what happens to you in this year. It will define how you spend your time, who you hang with, what gets your attention, and what doesn’t.
This year, really think about your “yes” and “no”. Ask yourself why you are making that choice. Your “yes or no” shows whom you want to please and what you think is important. Every “yes” means a “no” to something else. Every “no” frees you up to say “yes”.
Today’s blog starts with the “no” because often times we have to say no in order to say “yes” (which will be next week).
Do you have a difficult time saying “no” to others? I think we all do. We often assume “yes” is always best. Yet, that is simply not true. While none of us want to disappoint others, there are times when we just need to say “No!” –- “No, I’m sorry, I won’t be able to…”
But you can’t have yes without no. Another way to say it: if you’re not careful with your yeses, you start to say no to some very important things without even realizing it. -Shauna Niequist
Here are four situations when your “no” is best.
- Say “no” when it stretches your schedule.
None of us have unlimited time and energy. Your “no” says that you are human and can’t be there for everyone. It’s doesn’t mean you are a bad person when you say “no” to a good thing. Sometimes you simply don’t have the time. Say “no” rather than burn yourself out. You can’t do everything and expect to do everything well. Peter Drucker makes this challenge: “Don’t tell me what you’re doing. Tell me what you’ve stopped doing.”
- Say “no” when it forgets your family.
In ministry, I have been guilty of saying “yes” to others and without realizing it meant a “no” to my family. This was especially true of evening times. Isn’t it amazing how so many people say they can only meet with a pastor after work, but make all their other appointments during the day? I may sound a bit cynical, but whenever I committed to another night out, it meant my wife and children were left alone without me.
- Say “no” when it compromises your convictions.
Just because all your friends and family are doing it, doesn’t mean you have to. Your “no” means you are willing to stand up for what you believe. Don’t go along just to get along. Others may be grateful for a way out because you were willing to stand for what was right.
- Say “no” when it’s pressure over planning.
Many times you need to take time to think it over. In fact, if you feel pressured into a decision, you should always say “no.” At best, let them know that you need more time to think about it before giving an answer. Having a standard question such as, “When do you need to know?” will give you time to evaluate the situation without making a snap decision you may regret.
BEFORE YOU GO…
Stop and think. Have courage. Don’t say yes to the things you need to say no to. “No” is one of the most powerful and under-utilized words we use. It’s okay to say “No.” Do it in a graceful way, but still say it!
What do you need to say “no” to in your life?