We often have a hard time saying no. As a result, our lives become scattered and unfocused and we live life drained.
We have a hard time saying no because we want to help, we want to matter, we want to be valued. When we say yes we feel valued, we feel like we matter, others seemingly appreciate us. Yet, I venture to say that may be short-sighted living. When we say yes for the right reasons, we are energized. When we say yes for the wrong reasons, we feel drained.
A life-changer for me a numbers of years ago was realizing that saying no was also saying yes. I could say no and still feel valued because in saying no I was saying yes to something else. The opposite is also true. When we say yes we’re saying no to other things.
Here’s an example. I was asked to be on a team that evaluated and researched a new media learning center. Did it sound like fun? Yes. Would I enjoy doing it? Yes. Did I have the time? No. If I said yes, I would’ve said yes to fun, yes to something that interests me, yes to meeting others in my field at that time. If I said yes, I would’ve said no to my sanity (it would’ve taken up a lot of my time), no to time with friends, no to focusing on the main part of my job at the time which was training. I turned down the opportunity. I told them no thanks, but I was saying yes to retaining my sanity, saying yes to my friends, and saying yes to my students.
Here’s another example. I’m asked to speak to a local entrepreneur group. If I say yes, I’m saying yes to spending the time to prepare, saying yes to meeting other entrepreneurs, saying yes to helping others understand websites. If I say no, I’m saying yes to however I would spend that time doing something else. I will say yes. Saying yes is saying yes to building my business.
How do we know when to say yes and when to say no? Take time to think about what you are saying yes to and what you are saying no to – from all angles. If I say yes to this opportunity, what am I saying no to? If I say no to this opportunity, what am I saying yes to? It will also depend on the season you are in. What time is it in your life? Refer to this post for more info.
And, remember, whatever your response is – whether you say yes or no – you are really saying both. Yes to the opportunity and no to other things. Or, No to the opportunity and yes to other things.
Sometimes we need to use no to get to your yes.