I said "no" and the world didn't end

I'm a Yes Person. How awesome are we? Ask us anything - anything at all - and we will most likely say Yes. Can you give me a lift to my appointment?  YES!

Are you free to babysit my dog? YES!

Do you have $20 to donate to my charity? YES!

We need extra volunteers in the classroom - can you do it? YES!

Instead of YES, how about "I'm just not sure!"

Instead of YES, how about "I'm just not sure!"

Never mind that the appointment is across town. Never mind that I have my own dog and two young children to take care of. Never mind that I've already donated hundreds of dollars to other charities this year. And never mind that I work three jobs and just don't have the hours to volunteer in the classroom. The answer is always - YES!

But here's the problem with Yes People. We say YES so often that we actually end up saying NO. But we say NO by cancelling at the last minute, forgetting appointments and social dates, or doing a half-assed job. The "no" doesn't come from an authentic place of self-knowledge and plain old common sense; it comes from a place of fear - fear of failure, fear that people will be disappointed in me, and fear that I will never be good enough.

And I've realized that by being a YES person, I also miss out on a lot of opportunities to give back in meaningful ways, because I tell myself I just don't have the time. For example, I've never donated blood. Can you believe it? Something so simple, and yet I give myself permission to be "too busy" for this life-saving gesture that takes very little time to do.

The lesson I'm teaching my kids when I say YES all the time is simple:

I don't have boundaries. I can't recognize when I've stretched myself so thin that I'll soon snap like a rubber band.

It's time for a NO revolution. Or - maybe a more conscious and mindful use of the word YES. Because although YES can be generous, loving and kind, NO deserves a whole lotta respect.

Have you practiced saying NO lately?