How Are You Exercising Your “No” Muscle?

You are more than likely not spending much time wondering what to do next, due to not having much to do. Instead, you are probably feeling more overwhelmed than ever, wondering how you are going to get it all done!

The world is not slowing down. You are being asked to do more with less. Options are limitless. Your children have more activities available to them outside of their schoolwork than ever before. And as a servant leader you more than likely feel a sense of responsibility to please everyone. But that can be an unrealistic expectation.

Getting Comfortable Saying No

Having a process, or what I call a decision funnel, will help in your ability to properly assess decisions and activities.

  • Bounce your decisions off your personal purpose. Your purpose should be the first gate in your decision funnel. If a decision or activity does not work towards advancing your purpose, say No!
  • Bounce your decisions off your personal values. Your values are your personal boundaries for what is OK and what is not OK. If the activity or decision does not align with your values, say No!
  • Bounce your decisions and activities off the importance of extreme self-care. You cannot serve others at a high level if you are not in tip-top shape. Insure what you say yes to will advance your well being of body, mind, and spirit. If the decision or activity does not improve your body, mind, or spirit, say No!
  • Identify your priorities. After passing your decisions and activities through these first three gates of your decision funnel, there will still be more than enough to do. Develop a priority list of things that you are presented with and on your plate. If an activity is well down the priority list, and taking it on will detract from a top priority item, say No!
  • Listen to what you are hearing from Jesus. Take your decisions to the Lord through prayer and your daily reflection and devotion. Listen for guidance. If you are not feeling at peace with something you are being asked to do after taking it to God in prayer, say No!

God has created you for great things. He has created you for a life of service. But you cannot be all things to all people. Saying yes to everything will lead to burnout! What have you found effective to have the ability to comfortably say no when it is appropriate?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  ~Psalm 3:5-6


Mark W. Deterding
Mark W. Deterding
MARK Deterding is an author, speaker, consultant, executive coach and the founder of Triune Leadership Services, LLC. His purpose is to work with leaders to help them develop core servant leadership capabilities that allow them to lead at a higher level and enable them to achieve their God-given potential. He has written two books, A Model of Servant Leadership, and Leading Jesus’ Way. With over three decades of experience directing companies and developing leaders, Mark created A Model of Servant Leadership parallel to the principles that Jesus himself illustrated. Working with organizations, leadership teams, and executives one-on-one, he helps bring focus, clarity, and action to make things work. He also conducts training programs to teach faith-based servant leadership principles. His greatest passion is seeing the impact servant leadership has on people’s lives and beyond. Prior to Triune Leadership Services he worked for 35 years in the printing industry holding senior leadership positions at Taylor Corporation, RR Donnelly, and Banta Corporation. He is an accomplished executive with a proven track record for developing purpose-driven; values based teams that drive culture improvement, enhanced employee passion, and improved business results. He is featured in Ken Blanchard’s book “Leading at a Higher Level”, and has been a featured speaker for the Ken Blanchard Companies Executive Forum in both 2007 and 2011. Mark lives in Alexandria, Minnesota with his wife Kim. They have two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and three grandchildren, so far. To find out more about Mark and his work, visit Triune Leadership Services via the Link adjacent his Photo above.

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