Say “Yes.” Unless You Need to Say “No.”

Posted on July 7, 2023

Balloons in pastel colors of pink, yellow, and lilac lie on a pink floor strewn with confetti.

Today’s Morning Buzz is by Cassie Johnson, Police Operational Support Director for the Scottsdale Police Department. Connect with Cassie on LinkedIn and Twitter.

What I’m working on: Relaxing! Away on the water somewhere in the Pacific. 

What I’m watching: Ocean waves.

What I’m reading: The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson (I continue my journey through Wheel of Time)

It was recently announced that I, along with Meredith Reynolds, Toney Thompson, and Sanket Karuri, were appointed to the ELGL Executive Board. I’m stoked! As I shared on LinkedIn, I’m passionate about ELGL, and I’m eager to provide support to this organization in a new way. I have have had the honor to share my thoughts through guest blogging here in the morning buzz and have participated in the “I have to ask” series. I presented in Durham, participated in sessions in Phoenix, and attended Golden. I’ve shared appetizers with other local gov professionals at supper clubs. I have been honored to make the “Local Government Influences” list and had the great pleasure of nominating several colleagues over the years, and together we’ve celebrated their recognition. Now, I get to be a contributor in a new way.

Opportunities become because we say “yes.” 

A GIF of actor Daniel Levy as the "Schitt's Creek" character David Rose with the caption "Yes, I would like that very much."

I said yes…sometimes to myself, sometimes to others. We all have times when we have to give ourselves permission to try something new and be willing to take a leap. I’ve had those matter or be realized unless I was willing and able to say YES, I’ll try that. Sometimes the asks are scary and intimidating. It seems cliché, but it is okay to be scared. It’s also okay to know that it might not be a smooth experience. Sometimes we have to “sit in the suck.” Experience that challenges and move through it to get to the other side. Saying yes is the first step in seeing what you are capable of. 

But sometimes, you also need to say “no.” I was approached several years ago about interest in supporting ELGL through the Board. I was interested and clearly passionate about the organization. It killed me to say no, because I also have a problem with wanting (and thinking) that I can do ALL the things I want to do all at the same time, usually concurrently (she writes as she’s multitasking several things to leave for vacation). But, I can’t. That lesson grows increasingly clear today, as I attempt to bend time to do all of the preparation in time for the start of vacation…, but back to the point here. When that ask came several years ago, I was serving on two other boards, had applied to go to graduate school for the Naval Postgraduate partnership with the Center for Homeland Defense & Security, was teaching for ASU, and was recently promoted to Manager. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to give my all to ELGL if I said yes, so I had to say no. 

A GIF of the actor Reese Witherspoon with the caption "No."

But I said no with my commitment to continue championing the organization in ways that I could. And so, when grad school was done and a board position was no longer on my list, I reached out to start writing again. And then this opportunity presented itself, and this time, I could say yes. So here I am. I’m ready, I’m committed, I’m eager, and now I have capacity. I love what ELGL stands for and am thankful for the past leadership and commitment to celebrating local government! And I commit to you all that I’ll keep that at the core of every thought and discussion that we have as we move into this new year. 

So, say yes when new things are presented to you. But know your own capacity and passion. And if it’s not in alignment, it’s also okay to say no. We don’t like hearing “no,” and we don’t like saying “no.” It is difficult to be patient and to wait for that right moment. But remember, no is sometimes just a “not right now” and the chance may come back around. And when it does, you can then, say “YES.”

A GIF of the actor Miranda Cosgrove with the caption "Hey everyone, I'm back!"

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