Let me start this by saying that I am writing this one for me. I’ll probably have to turn around and read this a hundred times over the next few months. That said…. Let me just say that I understand what it feels like to be running around like a chicken with your head cut off trying to get things done… in the past 30 days I have worked without a single day off… and I’m currently on a 8 day run with the “God’s Not Dead Tour” in the Northwest. Our new record is almost done, and unfortunately all that is left is my part : ) which means as soon as I get home I’m headed to the studio to finish it off.
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed lately, but my blog is really meant to inspire all of you guys to overachieve!! The truth be known, I am an overachiever in that the things that I get accomplished tend to be far above my “paygrade”. What does that mean?? Well my talents are far less in capacity than the results that I tend to squeeze out of myself. That is generally viewed as a really good thing. But what happens when you begin to wear yourself out? What happens when you’ve worked so hard that you literally can’t fit another thing in even if you wanted to? What happens when you begin to view yourself as defined by what is accomplished? You BURN OUT. I’m a pretty tough guy, but I do usually burn out about once a year… I start whining to my wife about how hard it is to keep everything going and she just shakes her head. Why…. because every year I forget the power of the word “No”.
The other day we were on stage getting our soundcheck done on the Newsboys tour and I asked a question over the PA that apparently couldn’t be answered. Everyone paused and stared at each other in the arena. I’m the boss on the road and I quickly got the feeling that they were all trying to figure out how to tell me what I was asking for wasn’t possible without telling “the bossman” no. I then said this over the PA. “Hey guys, No is just as good an answer as Yes….. just tell me the truth and we’ll move on”. Everyone was a bit stunned. Then my road manager, Graig, piped up and said…. “yeah, we can’t do that today, but we can work on it for tomorrow” Awesome, MOVING ON. I even had several guys from the Newsboys crew come up to me after that soundcheck and tell me how awesome that statement was. Think about it….. “NO IS AS GOOD AN ANSWER AS YES.”
Funny… aren’t we the ones who keep allowing this junk to happen?? I’ve found in my life that it is better to fully present in less things, than barely present in a lot of things.
I’m still working this out, but every year or two I have to go back to the drawing board and weed some things out so that I can be better at the things that matter the most to me. For instance, 3 years ago I built a studio in the basement of my house with the intention of running it full-time with a full-time engineer. It was a great idea……. I had the space, and I had the gear, but I was missing one thing in the equation…. ME. People wanted to work with ME, and I wanted to have my hands in the projects that were getting done there, but I literally didn’t have time to be what I wanted to be. I couldn’t balance family, church, touring, recording B429, and a studio so I had to stop it. Otherwise it would’ve just been a money making attempt, with mediocre results. In a Godly man, mediocrity is unacceptable unless it is a temporary byproduct of an attempt at excellence. I’m ok with failure… even mediocrity, if it is not allowed to become the status quo of your life. At least that’s the way I view mediocrity and because of that I have an extreme tendency to scrap anything that I don’t believe is excellent… so the studio is not open for business anymore. Maybe some day… just not today.
The same could be said for online marketing. There’s email, facebook email, twitter, linkedin, youtube, vimeo…. and a thousand other things too…… but lets be honest… unless you NEVER work, there is no way to be truly involved on all of those platforms… heck it’s hard enough to be involved on just twitter, facebook, and email for me….. so what do I do??? I say NO to anything that I can’t do well. I don’t want to have something to do that I resent.
In relationships the same thing applies. If you have a friend or family member that is wearing you out… it’s probably because you ALLOW them to do it. It’s ok to say NO to someone, in fact I’d argue that it is GODLY…. it’s ok to not be available all of the time. They may be frustrated at first, but after a while they will start to get the point… that you only commit to things that line up with your priorities, and they will respect it, when they figure it out.
The truth is that you are giving up something really important when you can’t say “NO”. When you can’t say NO, you end up trading your actual responsibility (your spouse, children, job) for an assumed responsibility (friends, extended family) that will eventually compete with and damage your ability to function in a Godly manner. The more that you prioritize the needs of anyone over your immediate family, the more that cracks will grow until the levy breaks. Maybe instead of always saying “yes” to people requests in an effort to please everyone… we should change our thinking to “who do I take time away from when I say yes to this?” If the answer to that question is: My family… you may need to go back to the drawing board and muster up a little confidence to say “NO”. Now everyone needs a little time away with just friends…. but that’s why computers, and phones have CALENDARS. Schedule it way in advance so you’re not going out to ride motorcycles with your buddies when your son has a basketball game, which would be an appropriate time to say “NO” anyway, right?
My wife has an amazing ability to say “no” gracefully and it has served us as a family REALLY well through the years. People don’t have to sit around and wonder if were in or out, because it’s “YES” or “NO”, and not a passive “maybe”. Maybe shouldn’t be allowed in our conversations… haha…. As far as I’m concerned I’d rather you say “NO” to me than “Maybe” because I can plan for that.
What is this all about???? Well…. maybe it’s time you take back over your life… and stop being quietly angry with people who are just doing what you allow them to do. There is a time to work your tail off…. that’s any time that you’re on the clock…. but after that is when you have to have the ability to prioritize what really matters in this life. Keep your priorities straight and don’t forget the power that you have with a 2 letter word that truly changes everything!!!