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talk-to-the-handThe word “no” is a hard word for many people. But I have learned that it is one of the most important words we can learn to say if we want to excel in ministry and leadership.

At the same time, hearing “no” can be really demoralizing.

How can we create healthy boundaries using the word “no,” while still excelling in grace and likeability? If we are going to increase our influence and become the best versions of ourselves we must learn embrace and navigate this tension well.

So here are three thoughts I have about learning to be better with “no”:

1. Know who you are. The leaders I respect most know who they are and what they are about. That means they also know who they are not and what they are not about.

When you know this, you can create better boundaries in your life. It can act as a road map for the things you say yes to, and the things you must say no to.

When you know this, saying “no” isn’t about being mean—it’s about being honest about who you are and what you want, and what you can do. It’s about not over-promising and staying true to your God-given vision and mission.

It is important to know you limitations. It is a major part of healthy leadership. And I promise it will make you more likeable.

2. The power of re-direction. One way that your no can lose its edge is by re-directing people to other opportunities or resources available when you have to tell them no. When someone approaches me about something and I can’t help, I do my best to not leave them hanging.

One phrase you can use is “NO, but maybe this ...”

“No, but maybe Bob could help you. He is an expert on that.”

“No, but maybe you should check out the resources on this website. It will really be able to serve you.”

“No, but what I could do for you is this …”

In the end, the person asking is served even better than they would have been if you had said “yes” when you really meant no, and you have still protected your personal boundaries.

It is a win-win.

3. Create space for the right things. When you practice knowing yourself and re-direction, you will be able to create space in your life for the things that really matter. You’ll be able to chase what God has called you to chase, and be able to become the best version of you.

When you say no to taking on extra projects at work, you have more time to spend with your family.

When you say no to getting sucked into meetings that aren’t in your department, you have time to better address your current workload.

When you say no to managing other people’s emotional baggage and problems, you have room to focus on developing yourself.

When you say no to something, you have the ability to say yes to something else. And when you have room to say yes to the things that really matter to you, you become more likeable.

How do you use the power of no (or yes) in your life?

With more than a dozen years of local church ministry, Justin Lathrop has spent the last several years starting businesses and ministries that partner with pastors and churches to advance the kingdom. He is the founder of Helpstaff.me (now Vanderbloemen Search), Oaks School of Leadership, and MinistryCoach.tv, all while staying involved in the local church. Justin serves as a consultant in the area of strategic relations predominantly working with the Assemblies of God, helping to build bridges with people and ministries to more effectively reach more people.

For the original article, visit justinlathrop.com.

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