Mindset + Motivation

The Book That Changed My Life

Does this sound like you? “I struggle to say yes, but when I say no I feel guilty.” Girl, you need to read The Best Yes. This resource helps you make smart decisions with total confidence!

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I just bought this book because I say YES to absolutely everything. It's almost impossible for me to say no! I clearly need help. This post was super encouraging, and I love how she's so careful about adding things to her schedule. I can only imagine this book will do exactly what she says it will—change my life! #sayingno #busy #overbooked #overwhelmed #thebestyesbook #lysaterkeurst #lifechangingbook

Over the past month, I’ve been reading The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst, and oh my stars…I could not put this one down! I rarely give a book 5-stars (I’m one of those super picky readers), but when there’s a book I can’t stop talking about, I want to shout it from the rooftops!!

If you’re part of my VIP email list, you probably heard me mention this book a time or two. But I finally decided it deserved it’s own post on the blog. See, I told you I can’t stop talking about it!

In the shortest overview I can give, The Best Yes is all about making wise decisions in the midst of endless demands. If you hate saying “yes” all the time, yet feel powerless to say “no”, this gem most definitely belongs on your bookshelf.

I took so many notes—in my journal and also by scribbling along the margins of the book—that I finally narrowed my takeaways down to seven critical lessons. These are things I want to remember anytime I’m adding a new activity to the schedule, and I hope they are encouraging to you too!

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Lesson #1: Your Decisions Determine Your Schedule

You know who is in charge of our calendar? We are. And yet we forget this very important factor when someone asks us to put one more thing on it.

Lysa gently reminds us, “You won’t ever be able to keep up with unrealistic.” And it’s so true! If we’re cramming our schedules full of things that are not our “best yes”, then we lose out on amazing opportunities because we’re emotionally shot by the time they come around.

The point is, we have to give ourselves margin, and that means saying “no” to good things…as uncomfortable as it might be. But this is only so we can say “yes” to the very best things later.

Lesson #2: Don’t Say Yes…Just to Impress

I don’t know about you, but the word “yes” (or some form of it) is constantly on the tip of my tongue. Need three dozen cookies by tomorrow? Sure! Want to have lunch next Tuesday? No problem. Have a project that needs an extra volunteer? I’m your girl!

I have the “disease to please” and it gets me into lots of trouble.

If that’s you too, remember that YOU are the one ultimately affected by the decision. If you’re afraid of disappointing someone else, yeah..it stinks. But walking away from the conversation feeling like you sold a part of your soul is even worse.

When I Say No I Feel Guilty | Your Best Yes Changed My Life

Lesson #3: You’re Not Always the Right Person

One of my favorite phrases from Lysa is this, “Not every assignment is my assignment”. Do you know how incredibly refreshing this is to hear? Just because we’re asked to do something doesn’t mean we’re the right person to do it. 

Recently, Joseph and I were asked to be part of a church ministry, and we honestly wondered if we should say yes. But after praying about it for a few days, we knew this particular ministry wasn’t our assignment right now. Instead, we decided to focus on the ministries we were already doing, rather than stretch ourselves too thin.

Don’t get me wrong—saying no isn’t an excuse to be selfish. It’s about balancing your time and emotional limits with your “best yes” assignments. This takes time, and practice, for sure, but I promise it does get easier!

Lesson #4: Don’t Delay Your Decisions

I hate admitting this—but when I don’t want to say “yes”, and also don’t want to say “no”, I’ll say, “I’m thinking about it.” Then get back to the person in a couple of weeks.

All this does is give the other person hope, and prevents them from making other plans. Both are not respectful of each other’s time.

If you need a couple days to truly think about the decision, go ahead, but don’t put off the inevitable simply because you don’t want confrontation. Honesty right up front is the best policy. Plus, the conversation is over a lot quicker!

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Lesson #5: Give a Gift With Your No

Saying “no” is totally awkward…at least at first. But a gracious way to say it is with a small gift of encouraging words.

Recently, a blogging colleague had a project she wanted to partner together with, but it just wasn’t a good fit for Creative Savings. I emailed back letting her know how proud I was of her accomplishment, and was sad I couldn’t accept. Then I asked her if I could forward her email to a few friends that it would be a good fit for.

She was thrilled I would even offer! Even though it was a “no” for me, it was also a small gift to her, and a possible “yes” from someone else.

Lesson #6: Don’t Always Say No

You might be thinking, “I finally have permission to say no!”

Well, kind of. Just be careful not to let the word “no” replace all the things you would’ve normally said “yes” to. 

Lesson #7: There is No Perfect Decision

As someone who wants to make the right decision all the time, this is the lesson I struggle with the most! But it’s SO TRUE. There is no perfect decision.

We can think, pray, belabor, and write a huge list of pros and cons, but ultimately, we have to make a choice. Sure, there are good decisions and bad decisions, and then there are good decisions and good decisions.

But with no perfect decision, you can free yourself from the fear of making a mistake.

Wow…so much GOOD STUFF, right? 

Honestly, I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of The Best Yes. Do yourself a favor and grab a copy of this book so you can refer back to it often. It’s one you definitely want to keep on your bookshelf…or better yet, your nightstand!

When have you felt guilty for saying no?

Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Read my full disclosure policy here.

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32 Comments

  1. I love the “heck yeses only”. That is a great way to decide if my answer is yes or not, I’m using this one for sure!

  2. I’m guilty of taking on WAY to much. I get so excited about free courses and new books that I end up with a pile of things to do that I’ve committed to. I’ve started taking a moment to look at what I’ve signed up for and instead work through them one at a time to finish my commitments. Needless to say in the future, I’m for sure going to take things slow and say no more.

    Till then, I’ll crack open one of the FOUR books I’m currently reading :).

    1. Ok….This is probably my hardest “no.” I have a backlog of free {and paid} courses too! After reading the best yes, I made a list of them and made a promise to myself that I would not buy or sign up for a new one until I had gone through the ones on my list. It forced me to prioritize, and even “trash” some of the courses I had signed up for. While all of them are great, not all of them are right for me at this time. 🙂

      1. I started organizing mine by course and setting up their own little folder in my google drive/in my inbox. Now I can go through them one at a time. Currently I’m taking Living Well Spending Less unstuffed challenge :).

  3. I feel guilty when I say no to worthy causes That I know are struggling to survive

    1. It really can be hard. I know every holiday season when so many great causes are raising money and asking for help that you can quickly find yourself over budget and burnt out from volunteering. Remind yourself that there are so many great causes out there but it is not your responsibility to keep them all afloat. In fact, you may actually be able to have a greater impact by picking one cause that is nearest and dearest to you, and focusing your attention and support on just that one. That way, you are able to see an even bigger impact from your efforts.

  4. I love reading book reviews and this one struck a chord! There are no perfect decisions is something I needed to hear as I am currently deciding between taking a new job and staying in my current position.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. It’s amazing how my husband and I look back across our last 9 years and see how decisions took us in various directions. Even the decisions that we think we might go back and change, we quickly realize that if we changed them we would lose an aspect of our life that we have come to love.

  5. Perfect timing with this, Kalyn! I was recently asked to serve on an executive board for a Christian counseling group in town. While it wouldn’t be a huge time commitment, after praying about it, I realized this is not the right time to say yes. It’s for something that I would love to support and I was honored with the asking, but I need to support them in another way. I’ve already read Best Yes, but I think I need to reread it! 🙂

    1. It can be so hard to say “no” to those good things that seem like they would be a good fit…but aren’t. I’m sure your life is so full of “best yeses” right now!

  6. I feel guilty when I say “No” to my kids on the simple things. It’s usually because I am rushing to get through or to something. I would LOVE to read this book! Thanks so much

    1. Lysa writes about that guilty feeling that comes with saying no. But she reminds us that feelings are not always an honest gauge of whether or not we should say yes. Make sure you enter the giveaway!

  7. I haven’t read this book yet, but it reminds me so much of Henry Cloud’s “Boundaries”, which is one of my favorite books. This stuff is my favorite to read and write about. I love intentional living, growth, and personal development. Great post!

    1. So many who haven’t read “The Best Yes” or “Boundaries” see these types of books as “Finding excuses to say no” when in fact they are all about saying yes… to the right things. I haven’t read “Boundaries” but I think I may need to take a look at it next. Thanks for the recommendation!

  8. I love this post and I love the book! It quite reminds me the book I’ve recently read ‘You are a Badass’ and I love it.
    My last NO was when my grandma told me something and I was so busy that I said no. Then I felt just guilty. But I fixed it and it’s ok now. 😉

  9. Whenever there is something I could have time for if I squeezed everything else I am doing around, and I end up saying No, I feel extremely guilty!

    1. You need to read this book, Shannon. If you squeeze your life full of yeses, you won’t have any margin for when those opportunities come around that are your “best yes.” I totally understand the feeling, but the feeling of guilt over saying no is something that we all need to work on. 🙂

  10. Church stuff is always hard to say no to because of the guilt aspect! Not liking conflict and people pleasing means I had/have a lot of instances come up that I need to learn to work through!

    1. I’ve felt this way all the time before reading “The Best Yes.” This book really opened my eyes to how I was saying yes to ministries because I was feeling guilty. When the time came to do the work, I wasn’t enjoying them, I wasn’t passionate about them, and so I wasn’t putting my full energy into them. As a result I had to ask myself: was I really being a good “minister?”

      Since reading the book I have been presented with 3 “opportunities” to volunteer. After a lot of time, discussion, and prayer, I said no each time.

      The thing is, my husband and I are involved in a couple of ministries that we really do enjoy and that we really do have passion for. Because of that, we put a lot of energy into them and as a result we are doing really well in those ministries.

  11. I say “no” a lot and I feel guilty a lot but I remind myself that I’m only one person. I find it get’s easier to say no when your kids get older and you’re less involved in their activities.

  12. I always feel guilty when I have to miss church functions and family get-togethers. There are times that my schedule just doesn’t mesh with everyone else. I can’t please everyone but I still try to do so, which I am working on.

    1. It’s ok to be sad when our schedules don’t work out – but we should not feel guilty. But it’s easy to feel that pressure on you if the family or friends on the other side aren’t understanding of the situation.

  13. I used to be a “yes” person but in a wrong way, I think. I used to say more “no” to my family and friends than to colleagues or people I know less…and it was awful. I’m trying to manage this behaviour because I think that should be the exact contrary but I’m stuck in the process: how can I actually apply this? And it’s right after all, or there is a better way to manage my yes and no? I’ll definitely read the book you’re talking about! Thanks for sharing!

    1. It’s all about managing your priorities. The relationships {and ministries, and commitments} that matter the most to you should get more yeses than the others, for sure. You’ll love the book!

  14. I have a hard time saying no to my mother, especially when she asks me for favors or to spend time with her when I’d rather not or have other plans.

    1. Family is probably the hardest to say no to. And of course we should not always say no. 🙂 Learning your boundaries, and then effectively communicating them with others, can be incredibly difficult…especially when they are related to you.

  15. Oh my goodness, there have been so many times I feel guilty, that I typically say yes because I feel bad…either at work, personal/social life and with family.

    1. Lysa tackles tackles “guilt being a bad motivator for saying yes” in the book! 🙂

  16. To be honest, I’ve done pretty good lately at saying no simply because I felt so sick during my pregnancy that I couldn’t do much and now with a newborn I don’t feel bad saying no either. But….typically it’s not quite that easy for me. 🙂 One of the last times I remember the most clearly was when a friend asked me to babysit and I said no simply because I already felt overloaded. It felt like I didn’t have a “good enough” reason to say no.

    1. It can be very difficult to say no because we are afraid that others will feel that we are being selfish. One thing that we need to remember is that we do not answer to everyone else as to why we say no. We also need to remember that when someone says “no” to us, they don’t need to have a “good enough” reason for us either.

      Proud of you for knowing your limits and saying no, even though it was difficult.

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