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Learning to Say No…

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Recently we have been in a number of conversations with people who have said that they feel overwhelmed; they articulate that they have “too many things on their plate.” We find this is often the case with those who serve, or who desire to serve on association boards.

So we thought it would be good to reflect on an age-old question, “What happened to the word ‘No’”?

It is easy for all of us to say “yes” to the many requests and demands that surround us each day; to be driven by the “tyranny of the urgent.”

Even so, the first rule of effective time management is to lead ourselves – and to gain – or for that matter, regain – control of our own time. As has been said, control of our priorities should remain high on our list of priorities!

So how do we move out from under the deluge of random activity? Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair says it quite succinctly:

“The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes.”

Mr. Blair makes the point. We will all benefit by learning to say “no” to the many “good” things that present themselves as options for our relationships, tasks, and endeavors. You are correct Mr. Blair – it is indeed far too easy to say “yes.”

Maybe it’s time we begin to do the hard thing: namely, say “no” to the good things so that we can say “yes” to the best things… especially for those of us who have lately expressed a sense of being overwhelmed.

What do you think? Do you feel overwhelmed? Is it time to begin to say, “No”?