From the preaching of Seth Godin:
If you've got talent, people want more of you. They ask you for this
or that or the other thing. They ask nicely. They will benefit from the
insight you can give them.
The choice: You can dissipate your
gift by making the people with the loudest requests temporarily happy,
or you can change the world by saying 'no' often.
You can say
no with respect, you can say no promptly and you can say no with a lead
to someone who might say yes. But just saying yes because you can't
bear the short-term pain of saying no is not going to help you do the
Saying no to loud people gives you the resources to say yes to important opportunities.
This is hard for me. I'm wired up in such a way that I want everyone to be happy. I don't like disappointing people. I want things to go smoothly. I don't enjoy conflict. But unless a well-placed "No" is said often, good work doesn't get done.
Many people have given me this advice over the years, and I've given the same advice to others. It's not a new idea, but I need to be reminded of it often.
Bob Harvey says
For public people this has to be a huge issue.
There is a context that the quote doesn’t mention, although it is probably what Seth is saying. Are we saying yes to God before all else. Are we inquiring of God (and listening) as we chose.
The work is to know God’s will (what He has appointed for us), agree and obey and to chose to please Him. I need to hear and practice this constantly. For me, inquiring is easy, the listening part is really hard.
I think the Biblical principle to apply here might be unity. Is our choice unity with the world (please people) or unity with the Spirit?
I am perhaps the opposite of Seth, I might easily say no and chose the work vs. people because of other personality/gift elements.