The most difficult things to say no to are those that are meaningful. A charitable event, time with a friend are examples.
When you say no for that day you can also say yes to a later date, when you won’t be so stretched.
Gregg McKeown, author of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, claims you have not made a real decision about what is essential to your mission unless you have said no to something you value.
His premise: there are many good activities to devote your time to, but only someone who has clarified their vision knows what — among the many good — can be eliminated.
He goes further.
Until you make that hard-to-make decision to whittle away some of the decent activities in favor of the most significant, then you have not truly focused your life.
In that vein you’ll want to practice variations of “Thanks so much for the offer, but I can’t.”
No frees you.
No frees you up for your big Yes. In relationships, in your creative practice, in your bodily health, in your work hours.
If you want to make an impact, no frees you to your purpose.