We’re often reluctant to say, “No” or offer some other form of polite decline to another’s request, in part because we are unsure of the response we’ll receive, or out of fear of hurting another’s feelings. But in our efforts to live intentionally and purposefully, ground zero is embracing truth; our own and that offered by others.

It’s absolutely possible that someone may cross you off his or her ‘friends’ list, attempt to shame you, or even withhold future contact or warmth. It’s true. But isn’t it important …valuable …vital in fact, to know the truth of your relationships?

Perhaps you believe it’s just been easier for you in the past to be agreeable, despite your sincere feelings. But is it easier …really? Is it really easier to deal with forests of regret and ultimately, resentment that builds over time? Is it really easier managing the ‘smallness’ that such circumstances leave in their wake, like the bad taste from spoiled milk?

Of course, it can also be true that your own fear (and fall back to quickly say yes) prevents others from expressing their true selves by honoring your decision graciously. That too, is a loss for both of you.

There will always be times when another is in sincere need and we can, and perhaps should, help, despite the inconvenience. But the ultimate goal in living an authentic life is to be surround by others who respect our decisions and honor our values; those who graciously accept our decline without further requirement of reasons they find valid.

In both business and my personal life, my respect for another soars following the gracious acceptance of a polite decline, and I look forward to engaging and/or working with such an individual again.

Within my leadership coaching, I cannot stress enough the need to create a culture where people can authentically respond, benefiting the strength of collaboration and furthering the processes and the outcomes that serve the goals of the whole.

My heart is with you and for you!