A client recently exclaimed “I wish I had a pocket full of nos!”

Her and her husband both own small businesses. As successful as she is, she feels as though her pockets are empty of the ability to say no. Everything in her business screams – yes! Meaning, you need to, you got to, you want to! They are stuffed with reminder notes, tips from clients, lists of supplies to purchase and tools related to her trade. There is no room in there for ‘nos’.

What if we did have a pocket full of nos? Would we use them? I’m not sure if I would. Yes is more fun for me. Yes means opportunity, something new, a challenge, a bend or curve in the street to something unknown. Unlike some who might be more prone to saying no – No to change, no to surprises, no to disruptions, I lean heavily in the direction of my client. Yes to anything that isn’t the status quo.

But in saying yes to so much, I also miss so much. And over time, age, experience and the pain of my own decision-making has helped me to see the value of pulling out a no every now and again.

When would I pull out one of those nos? Some of my personal ‘nos’ list:

Not saving so much: No to storing.

Not answering the phone when spending time with the Lord: No to distraction.

Not saying yes before considering the cost: No to impulsiveness.

It’s not just about over commitment. It’s about a deeper discipline of being conscious of what I’m doing and why. I have seen friends say no to FB for awhile. Or no to eating out. Or no to news. There are all sorts of nos that become available to us. When I start thinking through all the nos, I realize, a pocket full of nos wouldn’t be enough to accommodate all the nos I am actually using.

I am realizing that my no can be equally powerful and opportunity filled as my yes.