By Fran LaMattina, PCC

Each of us is constantly faced with the need to say “No” to the good and say “Yes” to the best.  This is not an easy challenge, since it rears its head at home, at work, in our relationships, with our finances, and, mostly, with our time.  If we want to move ahead, we are forced to prioritize more effectively, and sometimes even distinguish whether or not a situation is “a hill worth dying on.”  We are constantly faced with options in life that enable us to grow as intentional leaders.

Sometimes, the resolution of whether or not to say “Yes” is simply a matter of prioritizing the most immediate crisis that needs to be resolved, forfeiting proactive planning that would get the process in question to the next level.  With this option, we address the urgent need, and merely react in the present to prevent a crisis. In these instances, we settle for a counterfeit win, perhaps recognizing that we are merely sticking our thumbs in a bucket of water, anticipating a repeat of the same instance sometime very soon.

Other times, we have the luxury of having margin in our lives, perhaps even a process underway, whereby we can say “Yes” to a solution for a problem with a long-term fix that eliminates the need to revisit it again and again.  We are able to get beyond the frustrating process of plugging holes, and actually make long-term progress to eliminating time-stealing solutions that rob our feelings of accomplishment and contribution to a cause.

Transitioning from being reactive to being proactive takes great intentionality.  It is at the core of being effective at saying “No” to the good, and “Yes” to the best. Those of us who lead may accomplish this better at work than we seem to at home.  We know that we have to get better that prioritization to gain influence and expand our opportunities within the organization.  However, emotionally intelligent people want to be intentional in all areas of life, and consistently look for ways to say “Yes” to the best rather than settle for “Yes” to the good in all aspects of life.

Over the years, I have noticed that the people who are best at the “Yes” are those who know their purpose in life and have clearly defined values…both at home and at work, sometimes even in the community.  They are constantly aware of opportunities to refine their approach to life and relationships.  They work diligently to maintain enough margin to get ahead of the game…even if only a little bit.  And, they prioritize relationships.  They recognize that it is only through relationships that we can truly accomplish the best results in life.

Where are you today in being able to say “Yes” to the best?  Little steps along the way at prioritizing, protecting margin, knowing your values, and investing in relationships get you further down the path to achieving your personal best.

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Contact Fran to help identify the places where you can say more Yeses!