The “Dirty Word”

I used to think it was a “dirty word” but turns out, it’s really not. In fact, it’s perfectly acceptable and even encouraged. What word, you ask?

NO

I’ve told you before I’m not a major donor or big-time financial supporter of the organizations I volunteer for, but I am a valuable resource because I give (often) of my time and talents. Those who know me personally might say this is an understatement.

If you’re like me, and known at work or in your community as the go-to “yes man” (or woman!) because you always agree to step up and help with a project, maybe it’s time to step back and re-evaluate your priorities. Are you the one who gets called when others disappoint or fail to produce? Are you the one who bails folks out when they are desperate? Are you the one who feels it necessary to not only attend every one of your children’s events, but also coordinate them? Maybe you’re the one who will ALWAYS go the extra mile because you have the “volunteer” gene or just because you can’t stand the guilt that comes from saying “no.”

I already know what some of you are thinking… “Hello Ms. Kettle – let me introduce you to Mr. Pot!”

But seriously, I’m working on this one. I have at least learned to say…

“Let me think about that and get back to you.”

By using this phrase – instead of immediately saying yes OR no – you demonstrate reliability and credibility. You can honestly evaluate the time you have available to commit to a new project and whether or not it fits into your plan of work, not to mention your schedule.

Sometimes we say yes to people (I know who I owe the biggest favors to) and sometimes we say yes to causes (I’m a sucker for anything Rotary-related). But sometimes we need to say “let me think about it and get back to you” before we commit or walk away.

We all have the same 168 hours every week (but that’s for another post…) so guard them carefully, and use them the best way you can. It’s important that you learn to manage your time rather than let it manage you. It simply isn’t acceptable to feel guilty for saying “no” every once in a while. More importantly, you shouldn’t feel pressured to make a decision either way immediately.

Let’s try it all together now… “Let me think about that and get back to you.”

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