The Power of ‘No’

Welcome to 2020.  A new decade brings excitement and refreshed energy.  We set goals, create bucket lists and establish vision statements; however, despite best efforts, most people will never achieve the goals they have outlined.  Why?  Because of their reluctance to use the word ‘No’.

In my experience, ‘No’ is your friend.  As a business owner I am constantly being bombarded with offers, ideas and opportunities.  ‘Please join this board’. ‘Let’s partner together on this project’.  ‘Come work for me, the pay is great’.  “We need your help’.  The offers are constantly knocking on the door.  It is easy to feel flattered and say ‘Yes’; however, even though I would like to do it all, I can’t.  I don’t have enough hours, nor do I have enough energy.

The single most important key to achieving your goals and objectives is ‘Focus’.  You must know where you are going and stay focused on getting there.  Most opportunities are simply distractions.  They keep you busy and make you feel good.  It is action for the sake of action.  But, in most cases, these activities do not move you toward your goals.

As opportunities present themselves, I would suggest the following –

1)      Start with a ‘Thank You’.  Let the person know that you really appreciate the offer and feel flattered that they would consider you.  Ask them what the role would require, the hours and expectations.  Then ask them if you can get back to them in a day or two.

2)      At this point, go home and take a breath.  Let the feeling of flattery roll over you and then out the door.  Once you are balanced, ask yourself, does this opportunity fit with my personal goals and objectives?  Does it fit with my core competencies?  Will it help me improve my skill sets in some way?

3)      If the answer is ‘Yes’, then ask yourself, ‘Is this the best way for me to spend my time?  We are all very busy.  What are you willing to give up in order to take advantage of this new opportunity?  Figure out what the trade off will be.

At this point you will make a decision.  Occasionally the answer will be ‘Yes’.  Most of the time the decision should be ‘No’.  It will be ‘No’ because the opportunity is not sufficiently aligned with who you are and what you should be doing.  The world is constantly trying to distract us. The word ‘No’ allows you to remain focused and focus is the first step in achieving the future you want.