In Kenyan culture it is generally rude to say “no” to something- culture in Kenya is very much like one big community and saying no can sometimes spoil relationships within that community. As a leader at CARE for AIDS in Kenya, there is a lot of expectation from outside organizations for me to be involved. Many times, people and organizations ask to partner with me. When I first started, I would, of course, say yes to everything and every partnership.
As I have grown as a leader, though, I have realized that saying no is just as important as saying yes. I have realized that I simply cannot say yes to everything, and, in fact, it is unhealthy to always say yes.
Today, I say no to many more opportunities than I used to- I find myself saying no maybe even ten times on one day, and it is liberating. I have learned that it is much better to do only a few things and to do them well. I have realized that I cannot be and that I do not want to be a jack-of-all-trades. My personal health and my family have also benefited from me learning to cut back and not over extend my time and resources. All in all, it is such a good lesson in leadership that I have learned.
I have learned to be gentle yet bold in the times I must say no- it creates room for me to do well in those things to which I say yes!