Every “No” Makes Space for a “Yes”: Advice for When You Don’t Get What You Thought You Wanted, and How to be Remain Grateful

True gratitude, like true happiness, comes from within.  We are all going to encounter “no’s” in life when we really really thought we wanted a “yes.”

It’s easy to get discouraged and to be disappointed when this happens, and I want to offer a reminder when that happens:  Every “no” makes space for a “yes.”  This is true both in how you handle requests of your time as well as in how the universe responds to your requests.

When you receive a “no,” say “thank you.”  Trust that the timing wasn’t right this time or that there was more to the situation than you realized, and it truly wasn’t the right opportunity for you.

If you are the one delivering the “no,” to the extent possible, share with the person the why behind it, and if it’s a skills gap or some other roadblock to success, help that person understand how they could improve to be considered the next time the opportunity presents itself.  Is there more training this person could take?  Is there a stretch assignment that would better prepare them for the next step?

I read (listened to on Audible) a wonderful book about this called “The Best Yes:  Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands” by Lysa TerKeurst.  She provides valuable insight into the power of saying no and reserving your yesses – your best yes.  Guard your time and make sure that you are putting your energy into what is best for you and for those you serve.  Every opportunity is not created equal and will not have the same impact.  There are no do-overs.

Use your time wisely and be thankful always for every experience.  Have even more gratitude for the “no” and “not yet” that make a space for the right “yes.”

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“Because I Said So” Management is Weak Leadership

I put a lot of thought into my decisions.  I hope you do as well.  I want to make sure if someone, seeking to understand, inquires as to my decision-making process, I can point to how I got there.

I care about people and how my actions may affect them.  I truly care.  This is not a weakness.  I don’t care too much.  In my opinion, you can’t care too much.  You can certainly care too little – but not too much.

In the same token, if I make a suggestion, it’s simply that – a suggestion.  Getting emotionally attached to your big idea clouds the process.  Is it really a great idea, or do you feel that way because you came up with it, and you are not open to the input of others?

While I put considerable thought into my decisions, they are very rarely absolute.  My work is in a state of continuous improvement.  Who doesn’t want to be better?  Sign me up!  I’m constantly reading, listening to podcasts, and seeking feedback to be a better leader, professional, boss, friend, and mother.  I want to make good decisions and do the right thing.

My litmus test:  What’s my reason?  Why do I care about this particular request or guideline?  If the possibility of “because I said so” would even begin to enter my brain, that tells me that I am making a decision to make my life or job easier, and not for others.  I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but that’s weak.  Being a leader isn’t about making our jobs easier.  Leadership is selfless.  Leadership is finding creative ways to say yes instead of always saying no.

I once had a person on my team who was dedicated, passionate about her work, and also happened to have a life outside of work.  Telling people to leave their personal life at home is ridiculous and quite frankly impossible, and I’m proud of us as leaders that we are realizing that.  People have stuff.  Giving them a hard time about their stuff doesn’t make it any easier and certainly doesn’t allow them to focus on their work.  This rockstar on my team had stuff, and you know what?  I let her go handle her stuff and still do her job.  I certainly could have told her that her personal stuff had nothing to do with her job and made a “because I said so, and I’m your boss” decision.  No one wins in that scenario.  She appreciated being treated like a human – with compassion.  She worked hard and was loyal and cared about doing a good job.  My hope is that if she is put in that situation in the future with someone on her team, she remembers to offer compassion instead of judgment or criticism.

Check your ego.  Do the right thing.  Be kind to one another.

How to Make Decisions in Business

How do you make decisions?  Are there charts, graphs, spreadsheets, pages of data?  Yes, data is important, but so are the humans in our care.  Do you include input from those affected, if possible, in your decision-making process?  Perhaps you could glean insight from another perspective that would completely change how to approach a situation.

We learned the difference between right and wrong long ago, and it would appear that we have forgotten how simple that litmus test can be.  The bottom line in any decision first and foremost should be “what is the right thing to do?”  If you can’t do the right thing, go back to the drawing board and work harder.  It’s not always easy to do the right thing.  There can be considerable pushback – it’s not always the easiest, most cost-effective, etc.  However, doing right by our people is priceless in terms of trust, transparency, and confidence in leadership.

As leaders, we have a responsibility to do the right thing by our people.  This is why we are in positions where we have been entrusted to serve others.  It is our great privilege to serve our people, and they are trusting us to keep their best interest at heart when we are making decisions that often have a ripple effect in our organizations.

We must have the courage to make the right decisions – to do that right thing.  We also must work hard to ensure that we are making our workplaces a safe environment with a strong culture of integrity.  We must empower other leaders in our organizations and support them in their courageous efforts.

I’m not naive.  I know this isn’t easy.  I also know that there are times when tough calls have to be made, jobs have to be cut, locations have to be closed, layoffs have to occur, pay has to be frozen.  In times like this, it is in the best interest of the business overall to make these decisions.  We are preserving the business and the ability to continue to operate by making these moves.  This is for the greater good.  I’ve been there.  I’ve done that.  I once had to lay off 20% of the workforce in the morning and co-star in a commercial for the business in the afternoon.  Yes, it was brutal.

While it’s sometimes inevitable to do these things, you always have a choice in how you conduct yourself in the process and how you treat others.

Always behave with integrity in your actions.

Always treat those affected with the utmost care, compassion, and respect.

Always provide as much information behind decisions as possible.  Letting someone know just how difficult the decision was can help them feel a little less like their hard work was in vain.

Always take responsibility for your actions.  Do not blame “corporate” or “your boss” when delivering the news.  Make sure that you understand the why behind what happened so that you can speak to it.  People lose respect for you when you are reduced to a headpiece for “the establishment.”

Do the right thing.  Ask questions when something doesn’t seem right.   Teach your teams to do the same.

What is a Servant Leader?

I was invited by my pastor to participate in a Bible.com Study last week on Servant Leadership called “Kingdom Leadership in Your Workplace,” and I LOVED seeing this perspective.  Whatever your particular faith or beliefs, I believe we can all agree if we are focusing on being better leaders, and in my case, being a servant leader, the quote below will resonate.

In the study, this quote stood out to me:

“Servant leaders value the development of people around them; they build their communities, act authentically, and share power.” [Oxford comma added by me because that’s the right thing to do.]

When we think about our behavior in our organizations, are we showing up in this way?

Value the development of people around you:  Are you focusing your resources and efforts for professional development on yourself, or are you sharing with your team?  Do you support professional growth and development, or are you secretly intimidated by the growth of one or more of your team members?  Examine yourself and share the wealth.

Build your community:  Are you building your team?  How are you supporting your organization?  Do you give back?  Are you a member of your state or local chapter?  Twitter chats?  LinkedIn posts?  There are tons of volunteer leadership positions available through online, local, state, and national professional association chapters – SHRM and otherwise.  I’m in HR, so I became a volunteer leader on the board of my local SHRM chapter, GCHRA.  I’m also now a co-moderator of #JobHuntChat where I help facilitate the conversation between those “in search” and those helping those “in search.”

Act authentically:  Are you being your true authentic self?  If not, what is holding you back?  Is it safe to be authentic in your workplace?  Do you make it safe for others?  If not, what is holding you back?  Are you behaving as the leader you always wanted?  What can you do tomorrow that will bring you closer to bringing your authentic self to situations?

Share power:  We are entrusted with our teams for a reason.  It is our esteemed privilege to serve our teams and our people.  We do them a great disservice by not empowering them to one day lead their own teams.  Empower your people.  Share information.  Communicate often.  Do not be an information miser.  Foster a culture of accountability within your team to empower them.

Are you a servant leader?

PSA: Participate in #JobHuntChat

Are you participating in the Twitter chat #JobHuntChat?  It will take an hour out of your day, and you will get to:

  1. Help others
  2. Learn something new
  3. Meet new people

These all sound great, right?  I have been participating for a while, and I’ve very recently tried my hand at moderating and lived to tell the tale.  It took a minute to get used to which handle I was using.  I was among friends, and it wasn’t life or death, so it all worked out.  It wasn’t about me anyway – I was there to facilitate the conversation.

The #JobHuntChat met this evening at 9pm EST (8pm CT/7pm MT/6pm PT), and it meets every Monday at that time.  The format is similar to other Twitter chats:  Q1, Q2, Q3, etc.  There are #jobseekers, #jobhelpers, and #HRPros ready and willing to help in any way they can.

It is guaranteed to be a good time, and I hope to see you there!

Greetings from the Beach!

Just a friendly reminder of the importance of family and spending intentional time with those we love.

Yes, I’m still #insearch, but this vacation was pre-planned, and my family is the most important medicine to my mended heart after my position was eliminated, and I was “promoted to client.” 😉

So I sit on the balcony, listening to the ocean, counting my blessings as I watch my daughter sneak Fritos instead of eating her sandwich and my son contemplate life in his captain’s chair, I am completely at peace and ready for the next chapter.

At least for the moment, I’m going with the flow, not worrying about things I can’t control, and living in the moment.

Happy Thursday, friends. Enjoy every minute!

Believe in Yourself #GuestPost – My Dailey Journey

This week, I was fortunate to be a guest on Wendy Dailey’s blog!  I was an early guest on the HR Social Hour podcast.  Jon & Wendy started this podcast a few months ago, and it is well worth the listen if you aren’t already subscribed.  Wendy and I met on Twitter several years ago, but we have not yet met in person.  We are putting plans in motion to remedy that.  Please click the link to view the post and check out Wendy’s other content on her blog!  Believe in Yourself #GuestPost – My Dailey Journey