Who is on your team?  In business, in friendship, in marriage, in family, in sport, in life?

My “life team” is literally made up of people helping me live the best life possible.  It consists of people who are skilled in their area or profession, like neurologists and doctors, psychologists and pastors, friends and family.  And I like to think, I sit on the “life team” of a few people myself too, helping them reach their full potential.

The thing about team, mine or yours, is that it isn’t accidental.  It is intentional.  It requires an answer. Are you on board – “yes” or “no”?

Often, I will receive a text message a day or two before my next specialist’s appointment asking me to respond with a “yes” or a “no” as to whether I will be attending.

Interestingly enough, they don’t give me the option of sending “maybe” as an answer.

In the “yes” or “no” equation of life, “maybe” can be the most damaging of answers we can give.

“Maybe” frustrates, it wastes time, it procrastinates, and it is an indicator of double-mindedness.

Do you think this is a good idea? Maybe. Are you able to make that appointment? Maybe.  Would you like to come for dinner? Maybe. Should we buy the house? Maybe.

When my wife asks me if I want steak for dinner, she wants me to choose.  If I shrug and tell her “whatever,” I may think I am letting her choose, but I am really frustrating her.  The reason she asked me is because she wants my answer.  If I choose not to answer, I am not caring about something she cares about.  (By the way, she will be shouting a loud “hallelujah” to this revelation).

You will notice a person who is able to give a “yes” or “no” answer is someone who knows what they want, someone who knows what direction they need to take, and what their values and priorities are.

Imagine when driving, asking the passenger if the blind spot to you is clear, but instead of a “yes” or “no”, they answer “maybe.”  You would hesitate, or you would possibly proceed unsafely.

“Maybe” delays the decision-making process and uses up precious time, when a simple answer would suffice.

I have often found myself challenged by the verse in Matthew 5:37 that says, “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’”

So how do we become “yes” and “no” people?

They are two words we would all benefit from learning how to use effectively in our lives.

Like I’m sure you do, I like hearing the word “yes,” but I have also learnt how to become unfazed hearing a “no.”  (And when spending time with our almost-two-year-old grandson, let’s just say, hearing “no” is not uncommon!  It amazes me how quickly they learn that word).

The upside of “no” is that I know where I stand and can respond appropriately.  A “no” spoken with love and grace can be even better than a well-intended “maybe” or an empty “yes.”

I have learned that behind every “yes” is a “no” and behind every “no” is a “yes.”

Over the years, I have discovered that when a person said “no” to me, it opened up a door to someone or something else: it became another’s “yes.”  When we hear “no,” it can motivate us to find other ways and other people who are willing to say “yes.”

Security in my own soul realises that when someone says “no” to me, they are more likely saying “yes” to someone else or visa versa.

Sometimes I am asked to speak and I don’t always say “yes.”  In fact, my “no” has grown and grown as I have had to to say “yes” to energy and health and life.

I’m very aware, that my “no” holds consequences, but it doesn’t make me a lesser person. It just means that it results in a different outcome.

One of the best illustrations I can think of is Jesus in His humanity crying in the garden before His crucifixion, “Father, if there is any other way?”  Our Father said “no” to Jesus because He was saying “yes” to you and I.

When we encourage people to live their best lives: in family, in work, in health, the flipside is that we need to be comfortable with sometimes hearing “no.”

What about the golden word: “yes”?

Oh, she is lovely to our ears.  She represents commitment and obedience.   She represents ease and comfort.  When she is outworked, she builds trust, integrity and results.

“Yes” can be the response we give because of our guilt, ego, fear or confusion.  At the same time, it can be a response we give out of purpose, capacity, kindness and confidence.

In any team, including our “life team,” whatever that may look like for you: doctors, lawyers, advisors, friends and family, we need people who will say “yes” because they want to, not because they have to.  People who know how to say “yes,” not driven by fear of an adverse reaction if they say “no.”

In life, there will always be an “ask” put on us, especially if we are living large lives. The bigger our lives, the bigger the ask. That’s not a bad thing, but never lose sight of the fact that you hold the power of your “yes.”

Say “yes” to your priorities, say “yes” to your responsibilities, say “yes” to things that resonate with your own core values, say “yes” to building or repairing healthy relationships.

I’m mindful that a “yes” or “no” answer may come with timeframes attached, “yes, but not yet,” or “no, not anymore.”  In your life, it could mean saying “no” to something you have previously said “yes” to, or it could be saying “yes” but at a different time.

Give it a go!  Try it this week.  Be more decisive, and minimise the use of the word “maybe,” be gutsy when it comes to “yes” and gracious as you say “no.”