There is one little word that makes a huge impact on your life and if you learn how to use it correctly it will actually allow you to create time and future opportunities. Some of us have mastered the usage of this word and some of us… well… we haven’t. I’m sure you’ve already thought of the word… NO.
I’ve learned 3 questions to ask myself when presented with an opportunity.
1) Does this align with what I’m trying to accomplish in my career, my marriage, my finances, my life?
My friends laugh at me when we’re sitting on the patio of a local restaurant and a motorcycle roars by. I subtly glance in the direction of the sound to see what bike passes, temporarily removing myself from the conversation. I’ve been distracted by a shiny object. It also happens when opportunities are brought to our attention. By asking this alignment question, we can determine if it’s a distraction (disguised as opportunity) or a stepping-stone. If it will get you closer to your goal, your purpose, then say yes. If not, decline appropriately. Squirrel!
2) By saying no now, what would I be saying no to in the future?
Sometimes a closed door is just that… a closed door. It’s OK for doors to close in your life. There may be people in your life that want to consistently include you in their lives… as much as you may not want to be included. By saying no, the invitations will slowly decline. Don’t beat yourself up over it but see it as a blessing. However, know that if you say no now, there may be future opportunities you’ve shut a door to as well.
3) By saying no now, what could I say yes to in the future?
My girlfriend is being drawn to serving in her church. The church is looking for Sunday school teachers so she is considering teaching. Her gift lies in organization, not necessarily in teaching. Knowing this, I posed the question “Is there something else you could be doing in the church that would have a greater impact?” There is a need in her church for a connector, someone that will develop life groups, adult ministries, and find ways for people to serve. If she were to say yes to Sunday school teaching, she would probably need to say no to a greater need she could fulfill. Sometime we have to say no to good to say yes to great.
We say yes out of guilt but we need to learn to say no with conviction. “No, I’m sorry… it doesn’t fit with my overall goals.” “No, I’m not able to commit the time it would take for me to help you effectively.” “Thank you for thinking of me but I’ve got another opportunity I’m considering right now.”
What do you need to say no to at this time? What question would be the most appropriate for your situation? Comment below with a time you said no that turned into a bigger opportunity for you.