Several weeks ago, at my church we were trying to plan a summer outreach at a local festival. But before we invested the money I needed to know who would be available on the specific date. I told everyone that responded with ‘maybe’ would be counted as a no. I got several maybes, so we wisely decided to pass on that specific event.
I guess we have all been there. Someone gives you a call asking you to lend them a hand. Perhaps you already have something else planed, or you really do not want to help out this time. Even though your reason for saying no is valid, you fear that you might hurt the other person’s feelings. Or perhaps you are just avoiding feeling uncomfortable by saying no. So to avoid what is really your pain at the moment you respond with ‘maybe.’ You leave the door open that you might help out, but often times you are just delaying telling your friend no. It really is more about your feelings than that of your friend.
Granted there are times when we do need to take time to think about our decisions, but as leaders we must learn to be up front and honest with our friends, family and colleagues. We have to be able to communicate the right choices even if they make us uncomfortable.
Over the years I have been a great opener of the ‘maybe’ door. But as I have grown older (and I hope wiser) I have learned the power of no. I only have a limited amount of time and ability. I have learned to focus on the things that I really value and to put the majority of my resources to work where they will make the most significance. In order to focus on the important stuff, I have to say ‘no’ to the less important.
Michael Hyatt, Chairman of the Board for Thomas Nelson Publishers, puts it well, “If you do not make room for the important stuff, it will be overwhelmed by the less important stuff.”
I have also found out that when I am upfront and say ‘no’ the other person appreciates my honesty, and they have more time to make other arrangements.
For some reason it is easy to feel uncomfortable to tell someone ‘no.’ And it can also be easy to cop-out and respond with ‘maybe.’ We need to close the ‘maybe’ door and be willing to say ‘no’ when it makes the most sense.
Stick with yes and no, and you will find that it works better for all involved.
So close the ‘Maybe’ Door, and lock it up tight.
Your voice is important, I would love to hear from you.
What “Maybe” doors do you need to close?