Dr. Charles Simmons Jr.
How to say "No"!
Let’s face it! Let's have an honest moment. Many of us would love to own the ability to say "No" without having to struggle to do so. But, the truth of the matter is, many of us seem to have great difficulty in saying “no” or denying favors that are often asked of us. As a result, we often find ourselves trapped or pressured into accepting tasks that we don't have the capacity or bandwidth for. This is a feeling and/or position that could often be avoided just by saying one magic word... NO!
For those constantly faced with this problem, the following tips will prove to be useful.
1. Get a clear understanding of what is being asked of you.
In order to make a determination of what you can or cannot say Yes to, first starts with getting a clear understanding. As a matter of fact, Proverbs 4:7 states it this way. 7 "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding". Is it clear what you are being asked to commit to? What is the expected date of completion? What is the overall purpose? Do I have the skillset and/or gifting to accomplish the task with excellence. Does it line up with my personal and/or professional goals, values, and purpose. If you habitually engage in something you hardly know anything about, you are making your situation far worse than the one who does nothing at all.
"Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding."
2. Decide if what is being asked is worth your time.
The statement may sound a bit arrogant but it is a worthy thought to ponder when being asked to do something. Remember, your time is precious and you have a limited amount of it. You have to see time as currency and ask yourself, based on the unallocated time that you have now, can you afford to pay. If it will just eat your time away from the more important things you consider in your life, then it may not be worth your time.
"You have to see time as currency!"
3. Avoid incurring obligations beyond your capacity.
Previously I recommended that you ask this question before accepting an obligation. "Do I have the skillset and/or gifting to accomplish the task with excellence? This is a very important assessment to make. Whenever you are asked to do something, your reputation is on the line. It is better to be known for only accepting something when you feel confident and assured that you can absolutely commit and follow through with excellence than the opposite. Having a "Well I'll Try" attitude may seem noble and upright but adds no value to High Capacity leaders.
If you cannot say Yes with the confidence that you have the skillset to do so, then say no. Instead, nurture your skills and abilities for the time being. There will come a right time for you to step up; and when that perfect moment arrives, waste no opportunity. Remember, being a Jack or Janet of all trades sounds good until you gain a reputation that you are a master of none.
"Being a Jack or Janet of all trades sounds good until you gain a reputation that you are a master of none."
4. Be mentally aware of how you will be effected.
There are times when commitments are accepted because people act on first impulse. (what they feel and think at that very instant). Avoid this temptation! Take the necessary time to think through it.
Although less commonly realized to people, acquiring tasks (no matter how simple they may seem) is synonymous to putting your honor at stake once you allow yourself to be involved. Be sure that when you put your name and honor on the line you are mentally aware of everything it will costs you (resources, reputation, relationships...). You want to have assurance that you will be successful!
It takes as much courage for a person to say Yes and accept responsibility for an obligation as it does to deny it. Whatever you decide on, always keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with saying “no.” When in doubt, it may even be the best thing to do. In addition, if you have accepted a task and along the way realize that you made a mistake in doing so, remember it is never to late to be honest about where you stand. It shows integrity and honor on your part!
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