This Is Your Year of No

Stay in your lane if you want to help people and do great things

For you and I, this is our year of saying no. I have decided to say no to a lot of good stuff, and a lot of crappy stuff, so that I can focus on the stuff that’s aligned with the lane I’m in. The best stuff.

If you’re like me, you have found it difficult to turn down opportunities and requests for help.

I used to fear that if I said no to an opportunity I might be closing the door on something great. So I jumped on every one that came my way. But what I found is that by accepting every opportunity I became scattered and unfocused. I was never be able to take advantage of any single one of those opportunities to the fullest.

By saying yes to every offer I created the very scenario I feared. By saying yes to every good opportunity I left no room in my life to see which one might turn into something great.

I also found that by helping everyone who asked, I was robbing them of what they needed. No one received 100% of my effort. And the more people I helped, the fewer of them I could serve in any meaningful way.

Everybody suffered.

So I have commitment in 2017 to start saying no to 99% of the opportunities that come my way (even good opportunities) to focus on what really matters.

Greg McKeown in his book Essentialism put it like this:

“… once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter.”

I’ll only consider an opportunity if

  1. it aligns with the lane I’m in. Every runner knows that to win the race and hit their personal goals, they need to stay in their own lane. There’s nothing wrong with the other lanes. Other athletes are running in them and doing great stuff. But you’ll never get anywhere if you’re crisscrossing around the tarmac. You have to stay focused. You have to stay in your lane. What is your ONE BIG GOAL for 2017? That is your lane.
  2. it fits in my lane. It might be a fantastic opportunity and it might align with my lane. But do I have the margin in my calendar to accept the opportunity? The more things I take on the slower I go. Runners have light weight shoes and sleek outfits designed specifically for helping to reach their goals. Can you really afford to take on another opportunity?
  3. it is better than what I have going. What are you going to cut out to take on this new opportunity? Only switch out your running shows if the new ones are better. Always accept the very best opportunities – but only if they are better than what you have going, and if they help you meet your ONE BIG GOAL. Good opportunities are a dime a dozen. Great opportunities are hard to come by.

I have already had to say no to ministry opportunities and I have had to quit commitments I made in 2016. I took no pleasure in quitting, but I knew that I was only hurting the ministries I was trying to help because I wasn’t able to give them what I knew they needed.

Lysa Terkurst put it like this (in her book, The Best Yes):

“Whenever you say yes to something, there is less of you for something else. Make sure your yes is worth the less.”

You may not do more this year. But you will accomplish more. You may not help as many people this year. But you will be able to serve the people you do help in a meaningful way.

Question: What is your one big goal of 2017? How do you plan to stay in your lane? You can leave a comment by clicking here.