Allowing room for yes

Photo courtesy of Michael Clesle (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Michael Clesle (Creative Commons)

I have a lot of trouble with the word “no.”

I have always struggled with it in large part because I don’t want to let people down. But honestly, when I get too overloaded with commitments, I end up letting everyone down because I can’t devote the time or focus necessary to any of them.

And boy, am I overloaded lately. So I’m practicing that short little word.

But I’m being thoughtful about it. I’m not just saying no to every new opportunity that is presented. I might miss something incredible that way.

Have you been around those people who pretty much respond to any new offer with a quick “no” because of some imagined difficulty they are sure will result? I’d be willing to bet they miss quite a few enriching experiences because they let their preconceived ideas get in the way.

And then there’s the flip side of saying “yes” to everything because you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. Or worse, you are flattered to be asked but in reality, everyone else has already turned them down or they ask you because they know it’s an easy yes and done.

I’m looking for the middle ground.

Instead of a quick answer, I’m considering my goals and my dreams, and deciding if the new opportunity will fit into and advance those. And if I think that it will, then I find a way to say “yes” to that. But if it doesn’t, or if it complicates something I’m already doing that is moving me toward my goals, then it needs to be a “no.”

Because who can follow their dreams when they are worn out from busy work?

What do you need to say no to in order to say yes to the right things?