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I posted this image to my instagram account a few weeks ago. When I saw this word spray painted so largely on the street in front of me, it came at a perfect time.

I struggle when saying NO to people.

NO. It’s a word that is feared by some, a disappointment to others and loathed by children. Personally, I am starting to like the word. Let me explain.

I am a people pleaser. This means, by nature, I am a YES man. I can’t help myself, as that is the way I am wired. “Why YES, I can do that for you.”. Ultimately I want to make people happy. This can be a good thing, but can also be a roadblock to true growth. If you say YES to everything, how can you be focused on the things you should be focused on?

More than once I have put myself in a position that is less than favorable because I said YES to something when I should have said NO. In the end, no one wins in this situation and I am hit with double guilt:
1. I should have said NO in the first place.
2. I let someone down.

Icky feelings (especially for a YES man!) When I say YES, I want it to be a win-win situation. With this in mind, I have decided to make NO a more regular word in my vocabulary.

To better justify my NO’s, I have created a Vision to align myself with. This has been very helpful to me. I thought I had a vision, but experience has taught me that you need to try, fail, and repeat many times before you can really dial-in that vision. I still don’t have it all figured out but I am definitely more equipped from my experiences.

This past year has been a good exercise in saying NO to opportunities, requests and suggestions so that I could better refine my vision. Had I kept saying YES, I would still be on the hamster wheel getting dizzy. I have learned much about who I am and what I am made to do. I think for the first time, I have taken the time to get to know ME and realize that I am uniquely made.

What do you need to say NO to today?