I read an article online today about how to spot emotionally healthy leaders. The article itself was fine but it reminded me of a pet peeve I have these days.
#5 says that emotionally healthy leaders are "able to say no." #7 says that these leaders "have a record of giving their all."
I've got no problem with the idea that healthy leaders can do both those things. My problem is with the reaction they often get from other people--meaning us--when they choose not to give their all in some particular area and to say no instead.
I know people who have impeccable boundaries--not many, but a few--who are crystal clear about where they are investing their lives and therefore are also crystal clear about all the good things they need to say no to and I also know that they catch a lot of flak for having the audacity to say no so often and to such good things. More often than you might think, I almost get whiplash in a conversation in which someone is encouraging me to slow down and say no more often and then criticizes another person for not stepping up to a pet project. And of course, the decision to say no or to give one's all belongs completely to the person making the decision. But it seems to me that it's not fair for us to say that people should have the right to say no when what we really mean is "except for to me or about the stuff I value."
So, yes . . . let's all take on the wisdom of finding the balance between saying no when we need to and giving our all when we're called to but let's also offer that same grace to others when they need to say no. Even if it's to me.