Let your yes be yes and your no be no

How easy it is for one to commit to a task and then bail out once they find it is no longer convenient.  How often have you put yourself forward without much thought then backtrack on realising just how much of yourself you will have to give? Have you attended a networking event, got a little carried away and signed yourself up to something you either have little interest in or you do not know enough about?

In order to be taken seriously and walk with integrity, you must deliver what you say you will unless of course there are circumstances in which you have absolutely no control over.  People will regard and respect you when they know they can rely on you once you have given your word.  In an organisation, it is highly likely that officers who “get the job done” are the first port of call when a task is required.  In the long run they may well do more than their colleagues but they will be recognised as being a team player and more likely to be considered for promotion and further development.

In our busy world, people tend to want answers quickly in order to move forward, however you have the right to give thought to a request before signing up to anything. In fact, going away and pondering over a new venture, a favour, a task puts you in better stead than the person who hastily says yes. Saying yes is pointless unless you are going to follow the task through until the end. Saying yes and failing to deliver is just giving others empty promises.

As a parent you must remain consistent, however hard it may be.  If you tell your children they cannot play with a toy, watch a programme, eat a particular snack then you need to stick with this.  My children are both strong willed – still trying to identify where they inherited this from!  There have been occasions I have given in (I know, I know), in order to have peace and due to feeling utterly exhausted. I soon realised I was making a rod for my own back.  Whatever you do not address now will continue to rear its ugly head until you do.

I have listed a few tips below on how to remain consistent;

1. Aim to follow through whatever you say you will. If for any reason you cannot, inform the other person in good time, explaining why.

2. Give time to consider what to commit to and what not to commit to.  Not everything that presents itself well is right for you.

3. Refrain from speaking out in haste and having to retract your words at a later date.

What are your personal experiences on this subject?
How do you ensure you keep your word?
How do you deal with others who do not keep their word?



18 thoughts on “Let your yes be yes and your no be no”

  1. In this mad world, it seems like success if more important that integrity. You are judged if you win, not what kind of person you are. Your words, are your bond, if you cannot keep to your promises, any success you obtain means nothing


  2. Well written, Phoenicia, and I like your tips. I used to want to please people and would say yes and they realize I couldn’t or didn’t want to. I had some great friends who had a big impact on my ability to say yes/no when I wanted to and stick with it. So wonderful.

    I have found I am better able to please the people most important in my life when I say yes/no and mean it.


    1. Rose Mary – if our heart is not in something, we will struggle to stick to it. I too found myself saying yes in the past as I did not want to disappointment. Now I am much kinder to myself.


  3. Outside of a business setting, I am really bad at making commitments in my social life. I always tend to change my mind last minute and say no when I previously said yes. Trying to change that though!


  4. I have less and less issue with saying no all the time. I see people over extend themselves all the time, and I have learned better over the years. I felt bad at first when teaching, but there would always be another teacher who would say yes to chapering a Friday-night dance, etc. Teachers are expected to practically live at their school and give so freely of their time. It gets old, which is one reason why I left the classroom. Teaching is great, but not at 65-hours a week 😉


  5. I try to be careful about what I promise. I don’t want to “overpromise and under deliver.” In doing that I hope to give myself good reason for self respect: I am a man of my word. My word means something and I can have credibility with myself and with others. It is hard to say a no when the impulse is a quick “yes” would get instant applause. But sacrificing personal integrity is not worth the short term perk. “tis above all to thine ownself be true and it follows as night unto day that canst be false to any man.” I think that is pretty close Shakespeare.


  6. I have a problem saying ‘NO’. And, after committing to something, I try my level best to finish the task. This inability of saying NO and sticking to commitments together have led me to stressful situations at times in the past.
    So, I agree with you that it’s very important to think twice before we say YES or NO to anything in life.


  7. Hi Phoenicia. As someone who has written a book on volunteerism, I always caution would-be volunteers to be sure they are taking their commitments seriously. It’s one thing to be caught up in the moment and put your name forward for something. But it is much more important to try and fulfill those obligations and responsibilities with all your being.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Excellent advice! And a helpful reminder about integrity and how to assure that one keeps it. As for agreeing to do something and then regretting it–I’m in the midst of that right now. I joined several groups that are working to resist the Trump Administration, and now I’m finding that too much is being asked of me. It’s more than I can handle comfortably. I have to find a way to withdraw gracefully from at least one of the groups. Thanks for your post!

    Dr Rin


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