Mason County News
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In My Opinion
The Most Dangerous Word Is... Yes!
Wednesday, October 17, 2012 • Posted October 17, 2012

For people living in a small town like Mason, there are many hazards that have to be avoided. There is the risk of causing offense to a person or group that can not be forgiven. There is the hazard of losing the trust and respect of the people in the community. Those are minor, and a lot more easily avoided, than one of the biggest landmines that folks living in a small town have to avoid..... what happens after you say "yes."

It starts innocently enough, usually when you talk to a friend or family member, and they ask a very simple question, "Would you help with a small project?" And then, you say YES!

Obviously, the lesson learned by many of us watching Nancy Reagan so many years ago has not stuck... "Just say NO." When you are approached to help with decorating, to serve on a small committee, or to serve as a member of a service organization... there doesn't seem to be any risk in saying yes. At least, not the first time.

After everyone learns how dedicated you were to your committee or team assignment, word quickly gets around. Like the juiciest bit of gossip, word quickly travels that you not only served willingly, you also served admirably. You were always on time, you always showed up when it was expected, and you always had your work completed. Like Hester Prynne, you are marked with a scarlet letter --- V (for volunteer).

You really meant well, and you thought you could control it. But it starts growing.

You start out helping with concessions at the Stock Show. Then, you agree to help decorate the Community Building for Queen's Coronation. It isn't long till you've joined Lions Club. Then there's Church Council. That's followed by Chamber director. And then, you are elected as an officer. Now, it's no longer just affecting you. It's not just you, volunteering for clubs, organizations and committees, you are the pusher of volunteers. You make the phone calls to find out if your friends would be interested in serving. You catch them while they're eating lunch to see if they would be willing to bring a cake to the bake sale. Finally, with absolutely no remorse, you catch a friend as they're leaving church, and you ask them to join you in a club.

You've moved from testing the waters with an hour or two of your time, to bringing others into your obsessive behavior. It wasn't enough for you to give up your time, you have to start finding others to join you and make you feel better about your addiction.

And it all started with YES!

In small towns,,, in Mason, we all run the risk of falling into the yes trap. We agree to so many things that we don't do justice to the many commitments we've made. Everyone knows someone who over commits themselves, and we can be rather judgemental about them. We talk about how they are on everything and in everything; but, don't really participate in any one thing.

But, that's not the problem.

The problem is that fewer and fewer people are willing to say yes. They've decided that the things they already have in their life are enough. They don't feel that they need to join any club, committee or group. That doesn't stop them from complaining about the job those same groups of folks are doing. But, it's easier to criticize what others are doing rather than getting involved and helping find a solution. Those folks have mastered the art of NO!

It is possible to overextend yourself by getting involved in too many things. It is also possible to hand off the tough jobs to those people who say yes so that we don't have to do them ourselves. We need volunteers and participants to make things work they way they should.

We need you! Risk saying yes!

It’s all just my opinion.

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