I said “no.” I declined an opportunity that theoretically, maybe, someday, would prove to be good for me and good for my community. And it was painful, even though the stakes were low. Did I do something wrong? Should others’ disappointment give me pause? Should I reconsider my decision? Saying no is indeed a hard thing to do.
All of this mental noise motivates me to send a message to the world, and it’s a message that’s hard to communicate. But it needs to be said. In any profession, perhaps especially in the nonprofit space, we have terrible incentives to say no, even when we know it’s the right thing to do.