The Purpose In No: What is Important?

“Focusing is about saying no.”
- Steve Jobs

Recently, I had the great fortune to spend some time with my friend Robert Harrion (  Robert is a cancer survivor.  Robert was diagnosed with cancer throughout his abdominal area.  Once diagnosed Robert had three surgeries in three weeks along with a belly full of chemo.  Needless to say Robert’s body, mind, and spirit was thrashed.  It has taken him fifteen months of rehabilitation and tremendous will to get to the point where he can lead a somewhat normal life.  He had to relearn everything.  How to walk, how to eat, even how to breathe all over again.  It was as if he was reborn, but with a tremendous amount of pain to accompany him on this journey.  When I asked Robert what was one of the things he has learned so far through this journey he replied “Learning to say no.”  Here is what he shared.

What Is Important?

As Robert’s journey has unfolded, he has developed a mission.  A mission to help others.  We all need to develop purpose in our lives.  A purpose or mission that is larger than yourself.  Something that you can serve which is beyond “little me.”  It doesn't have to be some massive, grandiose task like cleaning up the ocean.  It can be as simple as raising well-rounded kids or saying hello to stranger’s every day.  If you don’t have a purpose in your life, find one.  In most cases I don’t believe it finds you, you uncover it.  Remember, most of what you will be doing as you serve this purpose is the “chopping wood and carrying water.”  The unglamorous and at times unfulfilling part.

If it doesn't serve your purpose respectfully decline

What I learned from Robert that day was that if there is a request or something that will require my time and it doesn't serve my life purpose I need to decline respectfully.  It is not personal; time is our most valuable asset for we never know how much we will have.  I have wasted and disrespected time enough in my life.  No longer will I do that.

A mindful exercise in saying no

We are all so preoccupied with so much busyness these days we should adopt a conscious “purpose filter” for our activities.  When you are planning your day and reviewing it.  If there is an activity that does not serve your higher purpose, perhaps you shouldn’t be doing it.
I hope this raises some questions and objections.  Please share them with me. 

Until Next Week,

Rich Decker – Mindful Accord