Commitment for the Week: Saying “No”

This week my focus is on learning to say ‘no’ to the things that don’t fit it my values and priorities.

That sounds selfish and self-serving. I hope it’s not! My goal is to better serve the most important people and priorities in my life. It seems that if I do this, then I’ll be in a better position to serve others down the line because I won’t be all discombobulated at the outset.

Effectiveness Requires a Filter

If I’m going to be effective at any given thing, I will have to say ‘no’ to a number of other things.

In simplest terms, if I’m going to be an effective, loving, and fun husband to my wife, I have to say no to anything that would hinder that. If I’m going to be a decent husband, it would be helpful if I don’t spend 18 hours a day at work (or 9 hours at work and 7 hours at home checking work email every 8 minutes).

At work, if I have a particular role to play or a client base to serve, then I will have to say no to items that come into my inbox or come across my desk that serve other priorities.

What Will My Filters Be?

If you’ve never attempted saying ‘no’ to things consciously before, I would suggest picking one area and sticking to that. Be extremely diligent about filtering decisions, words, and actions through the filter that protects your priority.

My filters for this week are based around my main general priorities…

  1. Maintaining Conscious Contact with God: The verses in Scripture around abiding and walking in the Holy Spirit have been popping up all over the place in things I’ve been reading and listening to. Filter: Does this thing hinder or help my relationship with God?
  2. My Marriage: This earthly relationship is the primary relationship in my life. Filter: Will this opportunity serve my commitment to serve my wife?
  3. My Children: This would be the relationship just below the relationship with my wife. I’m committed to being a present (in body, heart, and mind) to them regularly. Filter: Will this opportunity that I’m considering steal the time I already committed to my children?
  4. My Work: This one is further down the list but much more complicated. My inbox is a fire hose of “opportunities”. Many of these are based on others’ priorities. Then there is the general office mayhem. Filter: Does this opportunity (a) fit into my main role and job, (b) serve my main target market (i.e. fit my client profile), and (c) allow me to best serve the colleagues I’m tasked to serve within my organization?
  5. My Health: I’ve been stuck weight-wise. And I’ve been stuck with my exercise program. This week, it’s about saying ‘no’, so we’ll focus on my eating habits. Filter: Will this food or beverage serve my body and mind or am I eating it to battle overwhelm or procrastination?

These 5 areas have been bouncing around my head for a while, so it should be easy to at least recognize when I should be saying ‘no’ to something.

We’ll explore the idea of filtering and saying ‘no’ to other (and others’) priorities and values through this week.

This is a habit and all new habits should start simply, so here are some possibilities for you to consider:

  • Say no to ancillary things at work – do you have to be the ‘go to’ tech person that helps everyone with their computers?
  • Say no to chaperoning.
  • Say no to one errand each day
  • Say no to work email while you’re at home.
  • Say no to snacks after 8pm.
  • Say no to TV after 9pm.
  • Say no to guilt trips that that particular person always puts you on.

Will You Join Me?

  • What do you need to say no to this week?
  • If you had to pick one thing to practice on this week, what would it be?
  • What is one filter that you can apply in one area?
  • How will your week be different if you implement this practice?


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