No Man

You’re “no man”.

Do you want to come for dinner? – No

Do you want to come to this men’s retreat? – No

Do you want to go check out this band? – Nah

No is easy for me.  Too easy.  My default answer to any invitation is no. It’s not because I’m not interested or don’t care.

I am afraid of joining in. I say no because it requires change. It calls me out of my comfort zone and if I commit, then I might miss out on something else.

In my haste to say no, I’m actually saying yes to something else. I’m saying yes to complacency. I’m saying yes to relational stagnation.

There is power in an invitation.  It presents a decision, an opportunity. The choice could impact my life or another’s life in ways that I could never imagine.

You never know what hangs in the balance of an invitation.

I need to say yes more. I need to leave “no mans land” and the fear of uncertainty.  I must embrace choice.

And yet, I must remain wary of the opposite extreme of yes man.  Too much yes and I will be running on the treadmill of busyness with no end in sight.

I need a better filter.

I must say yes to the things that I was made to do and no to the things that others ought to do. Or as John Maxwell says, “I need to say no to the good, so I can say yes to the best.”

As I think about this, my decisions are really a choice to invest in an invitation. Those investments can yield high return or low return.  Just like financial investments they have a cost, usually in the form of time but also money and resources.

The gain, especially when it comes to impacting others can be measured in influence and life change.  It’s a matter of significance. Are peoples lives generally getting better as a result of this choice?  Does what I’m spending time today that give me more time tomorrow?

There is opportunity cost too.  Every yes to one thing, is a no to something else.  If I choose to spend time working on a board and it consumes three evenings a week and I have three kids at home, then my time to invest in them has just been limited.

I know there is not a magic formula, but it’s helpful to think of invitations in this regard.  Is the return on my investment in this invitation going to outweigh the cost and will it yield a positive influence in the lives of others? Does this investment have the potential to outlive me?

As I think about my decision investments to date, I have a career, I have a passion project, I have a volunteer position and I have a responsibility to my family as a husband and a father.

Time to get out of no mans land, keep yes man in check and balance the investment portfolio.