Friday, June 10, 2016

Your New Filter For Saying NO

Why is it so hard to say no?  Well, let's not make more of it than it really is.  There are only two real reasons you say yes to things you should say no to.  (1) Because you really want to do that thing and you've neglected to count the cost.  (2) Because you want to please people and the idea of disappointing someone is too much for you to bear.  If you're making yes or no decisions like this, your filter is simply either, "Do I want to do this?" or "How will it make them feel if I say no?"  Both are fairly immature and ineffective.  Consider this instead.

A New Filter:  When you say yes to one thing, you're always saying no to another.  This is just one of those principles always at work; one that will either serve you well or bite you in the rear end.  Just think it through for a minute.  Your time, energy and money are finite resources you're tasked with managing.

  • Yes to overtime, no to rest.
  • Yes to dessert every night, no to fitness
  • Yes to an extra hour of sleep each morning, no to personal growth
  • Yes to a vendor at work who wants to come by and sell you more stuff, no to your real work
  • Yes to another sports league for your kids, no to church and family time
  • Yes to a huge luxury home with a huge payment, no to financial freedom

The list can go on and on.  If you're a parent, the easiest place to see this principle at work is with your kids.  How many personal desires have you said no to simply because you said yes to children once upon a time?  In this case, that yes to children was a great decision, but it illustrates this principle well. My twins will be thirteen this Fall and my drums have been stacked up in the corner of the garage for just about that same amount of time :) 

The Filter In Reverse: If you say no to one thing now, it makes room for yes to another down the line.  I serve on the staff at Solace Church.  One of my responsibilities is to respond to the requests we get from the community for financial help.  A few weeks ago a couple showed up to the church asking for money for groceries.  Based on our policies and my gut feeling about this couple I had to tell them we were unable to meet their request.  They didn't like my answer.  He told me some sad stories about how he was put out of work and she told me she was still recovering from a surgery.  She even proceeded to lift up her shirt and show me where the drain was still inserted to drain fluid off from the surgical incision.  Although it made for  a good story (because it was so gross) , it's didn't change my decision.  Now, even though I didn't fully believe their stories and I knew my decision was right, I still felt kind of bad about saying no to their request.  The truth is, I could have said yes.  I've got a budgeted amount of money to work with and I'm free to go outside what our policy says if I feel like it's the right call in that situation.  But, then a few hours later, I received a call from a couple in our church who were in a similar situation.  They met the criteria and I felt good about this one.  That finite resource of budgeted money to help these kinds of needs was still available to the second couple because I had said a somewhat difficult no to the first couple. It felt so good and so right that I could say yes now because I had said no earlier. 

What's out of control for you?  Is it your schedule?  Your money?  Your rest?  Your family time - or lack of?  Chances are if any part of your life feels over-committed and out of control, you might need to reset your filters.  What's an example of this principle at work in your life?

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