The Architecture of “Yes”


A three letter word that can change your world.

The things we say “yes” to establish a foundation and then become the architecture of our lives.

The “yes” to stick to the ethical and honest road when those around you are taking the low road and calling it moral relativity.

The “yes” said in a covenant commitment to love, honor and cherish one person for all the days of your life.

The “yes” to an opportunity to move to a different city or take a new job that alters your life in unimaginable ways.

The “yes” to give of your time, talents and money when there’s no chance of being repaid.

The “yes” to help someone in need that leaves a permanent imprint on your heart.

It makes me think hard about what I will say “yes” to.

In our busy, fast-paced culture, we all know there are things we have to say “No” to. I’ve even taught on the importance of a “to don’t” list to facilitate focus. There’s a plethora of classes on time management and most of us learned in the crucible of an over-extended schedule how to say “no”. Indeed, there’s a fine art to learning how to set boundaries that define the difference between being busy and being productive.

But it’s the “yeses” that mold our days, shape our years and determine our destiny.

Would your priorities change if you knew your days were numbered? I recently had the opportunity to listen to passionate words of wisdom from a thirty seven year old mother who’s advanced cancer diagnosis had given her an expectancy of only three to four more months on this earth. In talking about finishing well, she noted that she is saying “yes” much more often than she’s saying “no” to her family. She became very focused and conserved her energy for the truly important things in living every day. She finished well and left a legacy.

I love people, I thrive on learning and exploring ideas, and am fascinated by new places and experiences. I simply hate to miss out on anything. If I could do the impossible of being in multiple places at one time, I would. But that’s not reality. I have to choose and so do you.

I’ve learned that just because I’m asked doesn’t mean I should say yes. Just because I’m capable of doing something doesn’t mean I should take that task on.

As a recovering people-pleaser, I’ve learned that to say yes just to gain another’s approval is the wrong reason. That’s a prescription for frustration.

So how do you weigh the options and make wise decisions? Run the question through this simple test of asking key questions.

Four foundational time management questions:
1. Does this activity correlate with my top three goals this year?

2. Am I in my zone and contributing in a unique way with this?

3. Does this commitment support the people that are most important in my life?

4. Is this investment of time in line with my identity and calling?

If the opportunity before you doesn’t earn at least three of four possible yeses in this test, a NO is most likely in order. Give yourself time to think through a “yes”. I’ve learned the hard way that a quick response, without getting all the information, might cost more than I’m willing to pay. It’s more important to honor your word than to give a hasty answer.

The architecture of of a well-placed “Yes” can be the foundation for constructing an amazing life.

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