Just Say NO!

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Guest post by Morgan Kneider Patterson:

“A clear purpose defines not only what we do, it defines what we don’t do.”  - Rick Warren

“You are either growing or dying, there is no in between.” I heard this statement and immediately tried to think of exceptions to the rule.  But concurred, this is true; true for all living things.  There is no standing still; no in between.

All areas of life, my relationships, my faith, my finances, my career, my health are either growing or dying.  There is nothing that is staying the same.  This truth inspired me to think about some of the choices I’ve been making and how they are impacting my life.  Some say you can have it all, but I don’t think that’s possible in the way they are suggesting.  I think we need to make choices about what we want, and ALL is not one of those options.

Does anyone else remember the VIP program in grade six?  A police officer came into my little, country school classroom and gave us talks about making smart choices.  One smart choice was to “Just say No!” to drugs. 

Truthfully, I found it easy to “Just say No!” to drugs.  For whatever reason, there was nothing tempting about them for me.  However, this simple statement “Just say No!” is much more difficult to say when I’ve been asked to help someone, join a club, go out for another sports team, take on a new initiative or create a boundary.   Why? Because I might miss out, I feel guilty and/or I sincerely want to do it.  How is it that saying no to drugs was so easy, but just saying no to these things is so difficult?

No is “used to give a negative answer or reply to a question, request or offer” The word “No” in and of itself is negative.  What if we could see no as a positive?  Consider this- in saying “No” we are saying “Yes” to something else.  We are only growing or dying in life, there is no middle ground.  The same is true with our yeses and nos.

When I started to see my nos this way, it was slightly easier to say no and expect a positive outcome.  We all only have 24 hours in a day, and the way we choose to use those hours is determined by what we say yes and no to.

The danger in being a guest blogger is I might appear an expert in this area.  Let me be clear, I am a work in progress. I appreciate this opportunity to process my thoughts out loud, or in this case quietly on paper. 

I’m sharing my 2016 No List, not because it’s a definitive list for all to follow, but because it may inspire others to make a list that is right for them.   So, here it is…

  • I will say no to the temptation to enroll my kids in multiple extra curriculars because everyone else is doing it, so I can say yes to spending more time playing with them.
  • I will say no to buying lots of cheap clothing on sale, so I can say yes to saving up for a couple of really nice classic pieces.
  • I will say no to checking my Facebook account too often throughout the day, so I can say yes to being present with the people in my life at that moment.
  • I will say no to too many dinners out, so I can say yes to an extra mortgage payment this year.
  • I will say no to sitting at home watching Netflix, so I can say yes to having a friend over for a heart to heart conversation.
  • I will say no to text messaging a conversation, so I can say yes to picking up the phone and actually calling the person.
  • I will say no to judging myself based on “friends” Facebook statuses, so I can say yes to measuring my success based on what I have done.
  • I will say no to volunteering on a committee I’m not passionate about, so I can say yes to passionately helping with a project I’m excited about.
  • And, I will say no to volunteering on a project that I’m passionate about, so I can say yes to spending more time with my young children.
  • I will say no to sleeping a little while longer, so I can say yes to spending a few minutes with God and start my day off in the right direction.
  • I will say no to that really tasty chocolate bar, so I can say yes to wearing the jeans I just bought.
  • I will say no to the voices in my head that say, “People think you’re crazy for doing that”, so I can say yes to the voice in my head that says, “Follow your dream!”
  • I will say no to accepting societal norms when grieving, so I can say yes to healing my heart the way it needs to healed.
  • I will say no to the pressure I put on myself to constantly be achieving, so I can say yes to enjoying the moments in life.
  • I will say no to my rewarding, well paying career for a little longer, so I can say yes to my family, our wellbeing and pursuing new adventures.

What will you say no to, so you can say yes to something else this year? 


Thanks Morgan for your thought provoking post! Just the other day I mustered up the courage to say no to an event with some friends from a previous employer.  I literally had to talk myself into saying no - so your message certainly resonates with me and I expect it will for many YFFL readers.

If you've come up with something you will say no to to create space for a "yes" - share with Morgan and I below in the comments!

Morgan Kneider Patterson is a mother of three, enjoying a sabbatical from teaching to meet the growing needs of her family. She weaves her business with Nerium International, throughout her life.  Despite being the fastest growing skin care company in history, Nerium’s focus on authenticity results in an organization where the most important factors are not sales figures or even products. What they value the most are people. Visit Morgan's website, www.mdpatterson.arealbreakthrough.com to learn more about her organization.