“If you can’t say ‘no,’ your ‘yes’ doesn’t mean much.” That statement from Dr. Carol Weber still rings in my ears, almost 20 years ago during an executive education program I managed for my employer through the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.
Just this afternoon, someone made the comment that knowing what you don’t want is often a step toward discerning what you do want.
Both observations are true in my experience and are coming up for me these days.
I am a confirmed “recovering Rescuer.” One of the characteristics the Rescuer is the reluctance to say “no” or, in other words, saying “yes” to everyone and every request so as not to displease or disappoint (plus that fact that Rescuers have a need to be wanted and needed). The result – which is what I have been seeing for myself of late– is over committing and getting spread too thin. When that happens, the quality of follow-through can suffer and things can start to “fall through the cracks.”
With the publication earlier this month of TED* for Diabetes: A Health Empowerment Story, I have been on the verge of falling into that Rescuer pit.
As a Creator working in collaboration with other Co-Creators, commitment and quality of follow-through are high values for me. While I am fortunate and deeply grateful that all of the professional relationships I have are reflective of the TED*(*The Empowerment Dynamic) ™ work, it is clear that the time has come to set priorities and (gulp) to begin to discern what to say “no , thank you” to.
To do so, requires clear criteria of what I choose to say “yes” to in order to determine what opportunities to take on.
There is creative power in saying “no” because it opens the space for what is consistent with what one wants to create to emerge. It helps create clarity to oneself and to others.
Declining an offer can actually be of service to others, as it allows them to make arrangements or discover a new partner that has a passion for their request. I would rather have someone say “no” than to have their “yes” not mean much in the long run.