While I don’t consider myself a push around, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said “Yes” when I should have said “No.” Nine times out of ten, I regret it, especially when I’m stuck doing something I really don’t want to when I could have been enjoying myself instead.
Going positive on everything is normally the easiest path at the moment you’re asked, but it either bites you or the person you’re giving a “Yes” to in the end. Had I said yes to everything my son wanted when he was younger, I would have spared myself some temper tantrums and temporary hurt feelings, but both of us would have suffered for it in the long-run.
Being a yes man or woman can be a hard habit to break without a little help. Next time you’re about to say yes, ask yourself the following five questions first.
1. What Adds The Most Value?
Time is one resource that’s limited in supply and quite precious. You need to consider yours before you commit to doing anything. Ask yourself if the activity is something you can leave your mark on and if it’s something that is worthwhile to do.
If the answer is no, you may want to decline. Your time should be filled with things you want to do as much as you can possibly manage, as for all our advances, time is one thing we can’t make more of.
2. What Will I Gain?
Being a little selfish sometimes doesn’t hurt. On occasion, you’ll have to think of yourself first because other people may not have your best interests at heart. Think about what you will gain overall from saying no to an activity or request, and use that information to weigh your decision.
For example, if you let your child have that cookie before dinner, you’ll gain a moment’s peace but may be dealing with a child who won’t eat their dinner or one who will keep asking for snacks before dinner going forward.
For activities, consider what you bring to the table and what you can learn from the experience. Ideally, you want to say “Yes” to things you can both contribute to and learn from at the same time.
3. Who Will Be With Me?
The people you’re surrounding yourself with have a significant impact on your experiences. So, if you’re being asked to go to a party with people you don’t really like or aren’t comfortable with, you need to think twice before agreeing to go.
People can affect your emotions, drive and even your motivation levels. Avoid going to or doing things with people who essentially drag you down or have an otherwise negative effect on you. This doesn’t mean avoiding anything with strangers, since the only way to meet new people is to be open to, well, meeting new people!
Just consider the type of activity it is, where it is and the person extending the invitation. That information should clue you in as to what type of people is going to be there before you make a final decision.
4. Will This Make Me Feel Good?
If the thought of saying yes makes you feel bad, no is probably the safe bet. You may even feel a wave of enthusiasm at first before all the downsides kick in, so you need to take a minute before agreeing to anything to make sure you’ve considered all the angles.
For instance, a dinner at your favorite restaurant might sound great at first, until you realize someone you’re really not fond of is going to be there too. Don’t be afraid to truly consider how the results of saying yes will make you feel, as just a few moments of personal reflection may help you say no when you really need to.
5. Can I Fully Commit?
There’s no point in committing to something only to phone it in. If you can’t give 100 percent, you’re wasting your time and the time of someone else. This is a particular consideration if your level of time and energy will have a significant outcome on the activity’s success.
Think about how much you can actually devote to what you’re about to agree to, and consider all your other commitments as well. Even if the activity hits all your other “yes” marks, you may need to say no simply because you don’t have the time and energy available to give to it.