Intentional Living Series Week Twenty-Nine: How To Say No

Posted: 10 years ago | By: Christine Somers | In: Intentional Living Series | Read Time: 3 minutes, 4 seconds

"Learn to say 'no' to the good so you can say 'yes' to the best." ~John C. Maxwell

Week 28 looked at 3 ways to get back on track when life starts to feel overwhelming. This week I am going to explore how to say no even when it is a good cause.

What does it take to say no? I believe it takes a clear vision of what you want your life to be and to be clear on your Lifetime Priorities. If you don't know what you want to do in your career, why not take on every project at work whether it furthers your career or skill set? If you don't know what you want your personal life to look like, why not spend every dime of your paycheck and more on furniture, clothes and cars? If you don't know what kind of relationship you want from your friends, why not just go along with the status quo and show up when and where they tell you? Being the go-to person at work is a good thing, right? It is also good to dress nicely and have nice things to furnish your home. What's wrong with that?

Nothing except it is a non-decision. Yes is the default mode without really understanding the question. I will give you an example. Let's say you have penciled in Saturday to organize that out of control family room, garage or home office that has become the bane of your existence. Daily you waste time looking for items that should be easily accessible and the disorganization makes your home and life feel out of control. The phone rings and a friend invites you to spend the Friday night before out. It sounds like a nice time even though it is going to be late night. The next morning you are tired and you roll over for another couple of hours of sleep mutterings "maybe next Saturday". If it was a LP for you to have an organized and calm home then you may have said no, I appreciate your invitation but I can't this Friday. No, is not so difficult when the vision is clear. 

The default to yes is driven by many impulses...the impulse to help, wanting to be agreeable, avoid conflict and as in the above example the fear of a lost opportunity. But as the vision for your life becomes clearer, the default to say yes lessens. You begin to understand that every yes has a consequent...whether it is eating a second piece of cake, taking a job in another city or agreeing to babysit your grandkids while their parents work. Is your default answer yes? 

Week 29 Assignment: This week, each time you want to say yes to a request, silently count to 10 before answering. 


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