Love to. . .Can’t

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the dangers of taking your eye off the ball, losing sight of your priorities and saying “yes” when it would be in everyone’s best interest to say “no.” But it’s easy to write about that idea and agree with it in theory. It’s a whole lot harder sometimes to actually do it because “no” is such a harsh statement for many of us and seems to frame us as unwilling to help.

I was reminded recently by a colleague, Kirk Behrendt, about a kinder, easier way. His video on the “3 Words to Simplify Your Life” is an adorable gem to which we can all relate. Instead of “No,” Kirk recommends saying “I’d love to, but I can’t…” He contends that remembering these three little words (Love to, can’t) will allow you to honor the request while respecting your own boundaries. This short phrase softens the hard line between “yes” and “no” and reframes our response as a lot less harsh and unwilling. Kirk believes that the real question is whether granting the request will actually serve others or will be done at the expense of ourselves, our families, or our current clients. If it’s the latter, then we actually don’t adequately serve anyone… the person making the request nor those to whom we’ve already committed.

I like pleasing everyone. I like being the “good guy.” I love being a hero.

I dislike letting my family down. I dislike clients that feel short-changed. I hate making mistakes from sheer exhaustion.

The remedy lies in remembering the value and power of saying, “No” and thanks to Kirk… I can feel a little better now when saying it. I hope you can too.

Here’s to a balanced, productive week ahead!


“My goal now is to remember every place I’ve been,
only do things I love,
and not say yes when I don’t mean it.” 
~~Sandra Bullock