My wife and I find ourselves telling our two little girls that saying "no" is not a valid option. The question I've had bouncing around in my head today is whether or not this line of thinking is good for all situations. The answer is easy.... No.
The first thing that my girls will try and tell me in response to the "no is not an option" rule is that my wife and I say no to them all the time. Is that fair? No. Is it right that we do that? Absolutely.
There are a lot of reasons to say no to your kids. The most important one, in my mind at least, is for their own safety. My five year old wants to play in the street. No. She wants to drive my truck. No. She wants to juggle knives in the kitchen like she saw on tv. No....at least not if Mom is looking.
Discipline comes in at a close second. We are very good about letting the girls make their own decisions in many circumstances, but we typically control it to a degree. We like to give them options to pick from in order to expedite the decision making process and to allow them to make their own decision...within our parameters. At the end of the day though, what Mom and Dad says - goes. No questions asked.
You're probably going to think I'm crazy on this next one, but.... there are times you should say no to your spouse. I am obviously not implying, or endorsing, saying no to your spouse merely to maintain some sort of edge in a power struggle. I am just saying that sometimes the answer is no and being open and honest with your spouse means you will occasionally say no.
If my wife were to ask me to spend all day Saturday watching the back to back chick flick marathon on the Hallmark channel? No. Nuh-Uh. Ain't gonna happen. See how easy that is? Being honest saved me from a miserable day where I would probably end up resenting my wife and clawing my eyes out of my head.
There are times to say no at work as well. I've been in some form of Sales or Customer Service for the better part of 20 years. If I were to take a poll right now, I'd be willing to bet most people have the "customer is always right" concept stuck in their head and therefore can't fathom anyone ever saying no to a customer. In the real world though, we should probably be saying it a lot more often than we do.
There are a lot of times that saying no to a customer is actually beneficial to them because what they want isn't the right solution or may not really solve their problem. Or, saying no to one person may allow you to say yes to five others. There are plenty of reasons, but my point is we shouldn't be afraid to say no from time to time....even to a customer.
How about with your co-workers, or dare I add, your employer? Do you say no to them every once in a while? I'm not talking about being an unhelpful jerk or saying no to something that is clearly your sole responsibility to do. I'm talking about setting limits and being realistic with your time. It's never good to over promise and under deliver. You're not helping anyone out by making promises you don't have a chance of keeping.
Your own sanity is of some value as well. Saying yes to everything under the sun will burn you out and result in poor performance. That doesn't do anyone any good.
Think about it over the next day or two. Pay attention to your automated responses to various requests and questions. I did it for just a few hours today and quickly saw how many times my "auto-reply" of yes or no was out my mouth before my brain caught up to the question. I suppose that lends itself to a further conversation of thinking before I speak in general, but I don't have time for that tonight. Until next time....