Earlier this week, Michael Hyatt wrote an excellent post entitled Five Reasons You Need to Get Better at Saying No. After letting my schedule get out of control, I implemented many of the principles he discussed in the post. It absolutely made me a more focused leader. Over time, I became intentionally inaccessible to the people I was trying to lead.
While I agree with Michael’s thoughts, based on my own personal experiences and perhaps only for my benefit, I offer this addition.
Sometimes, I need to lead with a Yes, but…
- Yes, I would love to meet you so you could pick my brain about church planting, but can you please send me some questions in advance.
- Yes, I would love to talk to you, but can you make an appointment.
- Yes, but today is a day that I’ve reserved for my family, so can it wait until Monday?
“Yes, but” might not be the best leadership principle, but it might be good for your soul. Automatically defaulting to “no” might be the best for your schedule, but it might not be the default position that God wants you to take. I wonder how many interruptions were really divine appointments that my rigid rules and double-doored office hindered.
I know I want my default answer to be “yes” when God asks. I know I want my default answer to be “yes” when my kids need something. I’m not trying to be super-spiritual, and I’m not suggesting that you use God as an excuse. I AM saying that sometimes, other people priorities SHOULD take precedence over your own.
I suppose the million dollar question is, “Is this a divine appointment or a God-opportunity that doesn’t fit into my mold, or is this legitimately a distraction from what God has called me to do?”
Please understand, I am not talking about taking on extra responsibilities or shunning your family. A stressed leader completely managed or overwhelmed with his or her schedule will not be effective over the long haul.
In my leadership, as my default answer became no, I found myself more and more isolated from the very people I was trying to serve. “Those people over there are really more equipped to handle that need,” really meant that I didn’t want to adjust my schedule to help. For me, leading with a no because a guard door to my soul. This may not be an issue for you, but it was for me.