I am sitting at my computer writing this post at 2pm on Monday. This post was supposed to be live by 4:30am today. I am way late, and if you have been reading my posts here lately, you have noticed this has happened a few times over the past four weeks or so.
The biggest contributor to this is that I am a “yes man.” The problem is I just realized it last week. Being a “yes man” has not only caused me to be late on delivering the content that you expect when you visit ASmithBlog.com or open your emails Monday morning, but it’s hurt my relationships as well.
It’s obvious to everyone, but YOU.
Last week I was at my daughter’s track practice, and met a coach I had never met before. We talked for several minutes, and about sixty-seconds into the conversation he looked at me and said “you have a problem saying ‘no’ don’t you?” In essence he said, you are a “yes man.” I stepped back and looked at this gentleman who I had never met before, and sheepishly said “yes, I do.”
My wife and I have been missing time together, or falling asleep when we were suppose to be getting ready to go on a date. I have missed all but two of my daughter’s track practices, and even missed her first meet. I have missed one of my son’s baseball games, and this week had to let a friend down who was depending on me to teach the three and four-year-old kids at church this Sunday.
All that may sound like I am not a “yes man” at all, but the reason I had to say no in those examples is because I have said “yes” too many times and all those commitments have forced me to say no to some, or create a clone (or two) of myself.
The need to say “no”.
Basically, just about any time I am asked to volunteer, help out, or take full out leadership/coaching/teaching duties, I usually say “yes, I can do it.” The problem is it has limited my time in pouring into the relationships that matter most, or it has forced me to choose between them.
You may be in the same situation, especially if you are a parent. It is easy to be a yes man (or woman) when you are a parent that wants to be actively engaged with your kids. Most of the things are good things, but at some point you have to be a “no man” and limit the extra things you get involved with. Then take back that time for you, and for your family.
When you don’t, you end up late for commitments, missing opportunities to date or just sit with your spouse, and having to choose between loved ones and all the “yes’s” you’ve said.
How you can be less of a “yes man (or woman)”?
So, don’t make my mistake. Say “no” before, not while in the midst. Here are three quick ways you can do so:
- Prayerfully and carefully consider each opportunity with your spouse. Take the time to pray about the opportunity and see how it lines up. Does it line up with your main purpose, and can you even fit it in without a major overhaul of your already packed calendar. And don’t do this alone, but do it with your spouse’s input and prayer.
- Set boundaries for whom and what you love. I realized after the fact that I had no boundaries. The only boundaries were, “Do I like it?”. If I liked it, I felt I could do it. The problem is that I like a lot of things. But, there are some things and people that I love. Make sure you set boundaries that don’t violate or negatively impact people and things you love. This may be in the form of time blocking, or a spending plan.
- Make the most of what you already have. I heard the acronym FOMO today from Leslie Parrott. It stands for “fear of missing out”, and I honestly think that was part of my problem. I enjoy the relationships and opportunities I have and my family has, but somewhere in there is a fear that makes me think me or my family will miss out on something great if I say “no”, or we don’t get involved. Instead of letting FOMO run us, we should just make the most of every relationship, opportunity, and everything we currently have. Then we will have no room for FOMO to creep in.
So, back to my late blog posts. I want to apologize to Adam and all of you for my tardiness the past few weeks. I hope seeing my mistakes are a blessing to you, and you can stop being a “yes man (or woman)” and grow your relationships even stronger.
Have you had relationship problems because of being a “yes man (or woman)?” If so, click here to share in the comment section below.