You know, I like saying “yes”. I like it when someone asks me to do something for them and I can do it. Could be taking a friend’s child home from baseball, helping on a committee or dropping off a meal to a sick friend, the result is me feeling blessed.
UNLESS…I’ve said “yes” too much. Then it’s hard for me to get anything done and things slip through the cracks. My to-do list begins to look like the impossible dream and I suddenly realize I have to say “no” to something. I want to help everyone but that’s ridiculous. But the problem is I never know how someone is going to react when I say “Sorry, I can’t help you.”
This makes me think of two imaginary ladies I talk about during my Time Management Seminars named Suzy and Judy. Somewhere, a committee is putting together a list of possible volunteers for an event. (You know there is probably a committee out there right now putting YOUR name on a list too!) One member says, “Let’s ask Judy. She’d be great and maybe she has the time.” Another member says “Let’s ask Suzy. She’d be great and she never says no.”
So the committee goes to Judy and says “Would you help us with this event? You’d be great!” and Judy says “I’d love to help but I’m too busy. But please ask me again next time.” The committee says, “That’s OK, we understand.
Now the committee’s disappointed but do you know what they’re thinking? “Don’t worry, we still have Suzy and she always says ‘yes’.” So they ask Suzy and do you know what she said? “I’d love to help but I’m too busy. But please ask me again next time.” She said the exact same thing that Judy said but the committee reacted VERY differently: “I can’t believe Suzy said ‘NO’! Who does she think she is?” Why did the committee react so harshly? Here’s glaring truth: Suzy had trained the people around her to expect her to always say “yes”. It’s true. It’s not right for the committee to expect less of Judy than Suzy but re-training people to have realistic expectations will take Suzy a lot of “no’s”. It took a long time for Suzy to train people to expect too much of her and it’ll take a long time to re-train them to have realistic expectations. Saying “no’ is harder than it looks.
But remember this: God has a lot to accomplish on this earth through His believers but God doesn’t expect anyone to do everything. We are just supposed to accomplish our portion. This is one of those things I have to always remind myself: “Karen, God wants you to say “no” to some things and “yes” to others.” Ask God to show you the paths you are suppose to walk down as well as the paths He’s left open for someone else. Trust me, the path He has for you has PLENTY to keep you busy!!!
For more information on Karen’s Time management seminars and other speaker topics, go to /workshops.
Karen Tripp MS Speaker, Author, Counselor