Thursday, September 23, 2010


Been a little busy the past few months, of course, with Rachael's and my beautiful son Caleb. He has been a lot of work but also a great joy. Rachael took a year off of work and brought all of her teaching material home and we needed storage. So, in the midst of trying to keep my job, while catching up on some sleep I was able to build some closet shelving and a built in bookshelf. Building the shelving and the built in bookshelf was pretty straight forward and I use MDF boards for the material. The time consuming part was caulking, puttying and painting the shelves. Rachael would have like a little more of my time during that process. Overall, this turned out fairly well, and I even was able to add crown moulding to all of the bedrooms and bathrooms upstairs. Also, I have to give a thanks to a coworker Jose who built the doors for me. Below are some pics of my process of making the built-in bookshelves.
Dead space - good candidate for a bookshelf

Bookshelf built - done with the easy part
Put up the rest of the crown molding. After caulking put on the primer
Done painting
Put on the doors
Painted the doors

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Toastmasters Speech #10 "Inspire Your Audience"

Let your Yes be Yes and your No be No

Yesterday, I sat at the computer racking my brain on how to inspire the audience.  I am not sure about you, but for me, it has always been difficult to choose a topic to speak about, and even more try to make it fit within the constraints of the Toastmaster speech.  So, as I was sitting and thinking about how to inspire you guys....and the doorbell rang...another solicitor.  This guy was trying to sell some coupons for something that I did not need from some store that I never heard of.  This guy would just continue to talk and I could not get a word in.  All that I could think about how to get rid of this guys and what excuse that I could make to have this guy leave.  Finally, when I did say no, he asked why and I said I don’t want it.  He continued to give his spiel about how I needed it...I said no...then he gave a spiel about how he was trying to make a living.  Oh no, the trying to make a living guild trip...I say no...and he would not budge...finally I gave a forceful no and blatantly said that I don’t want the product.  He finally left and I was thinking.  What a pain?  Why is it difficult for me to say no to others?  Why is that others cannot respect my answer of a no?  What a great idea for a speech.  Today, fellow Toastmasters,  I would like to inspire you to “Let your “Yes” be “Yes” and your “No” be “No”.

Let your Yes be Yes and your No be No.  It is easy to say Yes to someone, but why is it  so difficult to say no.  There are some that won’t take no for an answer.  They may use the guilt method by saying “to step up” or “what else do you have to do?”, and “Nobody else can do it”.  If you are like me then you tend to assume responsibility for the situation just because the person asked even if the request is unreasonable.  My advice is to set boundaries for yourself and learn to clearly communicate your boundaries.     How many of you have that friend who only calls when they need help, and they have that knack to get you to do something for them even if you don’t want to do it.  I have that one friend, who only seems to call me when he needs a favor to which I have difficulty saying no.  I have moved him 4 times in the last 5 years and he has tried to recruit me into his many pyramid schemes.  I finally caught on.  I wanted to help him out but sometimes he ropes me in to do more than I should, so Just recently he asked if I could help him move his shed to which I said yes with the stipulation that I only had 2 hours.  I got to his place and I found that he was moving again.  We moved the shed and he asked if I could move the rest of his stuff, to which I replied “No”, I only had 2 hours.  That felt good and my friend clearly knew the boundaries that I had set.    

Let your Yes be Yes and your No be No.  Take time to consider the what you are asked.  This keeps you from saying Yes under pressure.  I have been trying to get in the habit and asking the person if I could think about their request before I give my answer.  This allows me to seriously consider whether I want to say yes to the request, whether I have the capacity to say fulfill the request, and whether the request is valid.  As a side note if they don’t allow for you to have the time then just say no and say that you were not give ample time to think about it.  I was asked by a member from my church to fill a leadership role, to which I said I will need to think and pray about it and talk with my wife.  Unfortunately, he said he needed my response now, so I said “NO”....He was taken aback and then conceded by saying that he would give me some time.  I later thought about it and found that I would be able to do it.    

Let your Yes be Yes and your No be No.  How many of you are people pleasers like myself?  It is difficult to say No because you feel like you are letting the other person down.  How many feel that saying No could ruin your friendship or jeopardize your standing at work.  Saying No could hurt someones feelings which might be true.   But sometimes we tend to let go of what is important to us in favor of what another person wants.  This can cause us to take on more than we can handle and spread ourselves thin.  We get burned out.  Plus with saying yes to everything does not allow us to assess the value of the things we are asked.  We are just being pressured into saying yes.  I have a coworker that I work closely with on a project in years past.  Since then, I have moved on to other projects and he is still supporting the old project and he comes to ask favors to support this old project, to which I have said yes.  Of course, just recently I have been incredibly busy finishing a project and my coworker came needing another favor.  I said I did not have the time to which he pressured me by saying that his project needed to be finished soon.  I said let’s talk to our boss and he stopped asking me.  Of course, at first he was not happy about it and did not talk to me for a few days, but since then he has got over it. 

Let your Yes be Yes and your No be No.  A good way to be good at saying “No” is to find what you want to say Yes to in life.  Setting priorities is a good way to find those things that will fit into your life, and those that cannot.  For instance, if you want to have more time with you family then say no to those things that keep you away from home.  If you need to exercise, make it a point to say no to things that keep you from exercising.  My Achilles heel is pushy solicitors.  They have a product they are selling or they are asking for donations for a non-profit organization, or a panhandler asks for money, and it is difficult for me to say no.  So, I had to have a list, which is very short, of things I would say yes to when approached.  For instance, I will decline giving money to a panhandler but will definitely buy them a bite to eat.  I will say yes to girl scout cookies, but will decline every other product or non-profit organization.  The point is to accept those things that you would want to give a resounding “Yes”.

Let your Yes be Yes and your No be No.  Now that I have explained a little about why it is difficult to say no.  I just wanted to discuss a little bit about taking serious consideration about saying yes and making commitments.  As I said before, it is easy to say Yes, the hard part is actually fulfilling your promise.   It could be said flippantly.  The point that I am trying to make is to seriously consider what you are saying “yes” to.  If you say “yes” are you able to fulfill that commitment?  Sometimes the commitment might have been more difficult than you thought.  Do your best to to fulfill you commitments to the best of your ability.  Just this weekend, as I was banging my head trying to write a speech, the thought of not doing the speech did come up, but, I thought, I signed up for it so I better make sure that I do it.  So let your yes be yes.

In conclusion, we all lead hectic lives.  We juggle between family, friends, our jobs, our hobbies, and our never ending to-do lists.  Even in Toastmasters with filling of roles, officer training, speech contests, district conferences there are more activities and events that we can handle. .  We can’t do everything so we have to learn to say no.  We have to set clear boundaries, we have to give ourselves time to think about making commitments, we can’t please everyone, we have to prioritize and find that yes, and we have to fulfill the commitments that we said yes to.  This allows us to let our yes be yes and our no be no.