Saying No Is Not Easy, But Sometimes For The Best!

Hello and Happy Monday. As you take in this amazing photo that Dawn took and as y’all get ready for your week, I can imagine that, with regards to work, you are wrapping up carryover items, making adjustments to this weeks plan, and setting the plan for next week. Perhaps some of you are pondering taking on a new role; an expanded role that would provide you with a leadership opportunity of your own. A recent situation happened to me that I wanted to share with all of you as you make your decision.

I have been a part of a group of folks that meet two or three times per month to discuss public speaking. As with most groups that I am a part of, many people naturally gravitate towards me to take on a leadership role. Now that sounds a bit arrogant, but for whatever reason, people look to me. When I began with this last group, I just wanted to be a fly on the wall, sit back, learn from others. As a leadership term was coming to a close, I was asked to take on the role of president. I was very flattered, but knowing the time I had to devote to it would be limited, I was not sure that I could do it justice. In the end, it felt great knowing the group felt I was the right person to lead us over the next year. I agreed to take on the role as president of the group. With public speaking, the in-person component is very important, at least it is to me. At the time I took on the role, there were no public gatherings allowed due to Covid-19 protocols. Once the window opened up for a hybrid meeting format, I jumped on it. There were many months that I was the only one that was there in person, with most opting to meet via the virtual link. And while we did see some improvement of in person attendance, a majority of folks opted to stay remote.

There are several legitimate reasons for this that I needed to consider as I looked to lead the group forward. Our group meets at lunch for one hour. Which means that folks have to be local, flexible, or work off-shifts to attend. We were mostly professionals with flexible schedules at the beginning and there were times that some twenty folks attended a meeting, but for the most part is was a dozen or so. As the pandemic continued, remote work became the norm and employers ramped up the use of virtual meetings. Members had less and less time to be away from home. I also believe that people enjoy being at home and not venturing out. I worked very hard, but in the end, the in person attendance was not where it was prior to COVID, but our active membership was still pretty strong. The term ends and the gavel goes to another to carry on. By no fault of theirs, during that time, the number of people that were active from meeting to meeting were sometimes not even enough to run the meeting, virtual or in person. It has been a year, that person’s term is ending, and the group again looked to me to take on the role as president to help keep our band of merry speakers going.

In the end, after careful consideration, the decision was made to disband the group. I did not feel great about taking on the role again. It was a tough call because I believe in my ability to help bring any group of people together. I was sad about my decision,,,,,,

right up until the final meeting.

Now, due to many circumstances, I was not very active these past six months. However, I did think that there would be a nice turn out of folks for our last meeting, to say good-bye, share stories, and look to stay in touch. I was one of two people that was on the meeting call, TWO! Some things are better left un-lead.

I share the above story to illustrate the challenges of saying no to a leadership role. A leadership decision also means knowing how to best use your time and ensuring that others respect the sacrifice of time that you are making. I love the feeling when I get to come in and save the day. The feedback that I get from others and the enjoyment of knowing that I was the right person at the right time leaves me feeling accomplished.

As people, our time is our most valuable resource; it is non-replenishable. How we spend it is something that we will want to consider each time there is a demand made of it. After many years, it is still a challenge to get to a point where turning down an opportunity to lead was the right decision.

In a western culture, and in my upbringing, if I had a couple of moments in my day, I should fill them or I was lazy. If I was not striving for the next rung on the ladder, I was not ambitious enough.

Not every group is savable, not every person will benefit from your guidance. These are lessons learned through trial and error. They are hard to accept because it does feel like failure. I have come to learn that this is a strong decision, a successful decision, and one that will provide me with the time to focus my energy and creative strength on other opportunities that may arise.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, and many of us are, saying no to an additional role, or volunteer opportunity that will require more sacrifice may be the right call. Strength as a person, as a leader, is knowing how valuable your time is – to your team, your family, and mostly for yourself. Ponder each opportunity, carefully weighing all the pros and cons. I often make a pro’s and con’s list to see it on paper. Not sure if you can take on that role? Saying no maybe the strongest decision you can make.

Have a great week. And remember, be where you are, and you will have arrived.

One thought on “Saying No Is Not Easy, But Sometimes For The Best!

  1. Too often folks say “yes” to things because they are presuming that there are expectations to say yes, that they are weak if they don’t, and on and on…the things we tell ourselves, which are often not rooted in reality. Knowing when to say “no”, when adding more to your plate will simply dilute all that you are currently doing or it will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, is having the intuition, the savvy, the knowledge, to make a good, sound decision. Try it some time and see how it feels and don’t apologize for the “no”!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: