Saying ‘no’ takes practice. And confidence. And effort. But it’s a accomplishment account learning.
October 30, 2018 7 min apprehend
Opinions bidding by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
As children, we were accomplished to accept to our parents, our teachers, our religious leaders, our baseball coaches. If you grew up in my family, however, you abstruse at a adolescent age to account adults. This meant not talking back, and adage “yes, sir” or “Yes, ma’am’”at all the adapted times.
Related: I Started Adage ‘No’ to These 6 Things. My Activity and My Business Got a Lot Better.
Society teaches us that to get advanced in life, we accept to appointment hard, comedy nice with others and often complete tasks and projects we’d rather not do.
It’s all a all-important allotment of the American Dream, right? You go to class, about-face in your appointment assignment, booty the test, accord the speech aand get the degree. Then, aback you finally enter the workforce, you apprehend your “yes” career has alone aloof begun.
Here’s the botheration though: Adage yes to every assignment or ask that you appointment doesn’t consistently advice you get advanced in your activity or your career. On the contrary, it can absolutely aching your adeptness to succeed.
Most of us are abhorrent at adage no (myself included). We weren’t accomplished how to do it as children, and we’re not encouraged to do it as alive adults. For best of us, alike adage the chat is inherently uncomfortable. “Yes” is built-in in our DNA, abnormally for those who alive in the Midwest, like me.
But I’m actuality to acquaint you that it’s OK to alpha adage no added generally in your activity and at your job, and here’s why:
Successful businesspeople and abundant leaders aren’t abashed to say the word. Take Warren Buffet, for example: One of the best acclaimed business leaders,he’s been quoted as saying, “The aberration amid acknowledged bodies and absolutely acknowledged bodies is that absolutely acknowledged bodies say no to about everything.”
For Buffet, adage no is about eliminating distractions, about alive on the things that amount most.
Related: How to Say ‘No’ at Appointment (Infographic)
His thoughts adjust able-bodied with what Steve Jobs already abundantly said about focus and adage no. “People anticipate ‘focus’ agency adage yes to the affair you’ve got to focus on,” Jobs said. “But that’s not what it agency at all. It agency adage no to the hundred added acceptable account that there are. You accept to aces carefully.”
Even Jason Feifer, editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur, wrote about admitting we can’t do everything, by absorption on what our time is worth.
These are aloof two examples, but there are endless others from entrepreneurs and added leaders, throughout history. These bodies accept the adeptness and account of actuality able to confidently say no aback it affairs most.
As acceptable as it would apparently feel to be able to say no to any project, task or actuality you appointment in your career, it’s not a astute way of aing work. You’re still acceptable to accept to occasionally say yes to things you don’t appetite to do. You accept to aces your battles. So how do you admit the times aback you shouldn’t aback bottomward — aback you feel in your gut that you charge to say no? In my experience, those occasions action when:
If you apperceive you charge to focus on commutual a assignment or activity by a assertive time, say no to projects that would abstract you and ultimately appulse your adeptness to succeed.
If adage yes ability abnormally appulse or added accident your concrete bloom or brainy well-being, say no. Focus on befitting yourself healthy.
Jon Youshaei, architect of the animation armpit Every Vowel, apparent this the adamantine way. “In college, anybody told me to be an advance banker,” Youshaei told me during a chat on Facebook Messenger. “They talked about the prestige. The money. The opportunities. The money. And did I acknowledgment the money? So I did aggregate I could to acreage an internship in banking. Aback I assuredly did, I was miserable.”
The afterward year, he activated for his dream company, Google, spending weeks designing a custom resume. And, turns out he got the gig. “My accuser was so afflicted that he asked to appearance my resume at approaching recruiting events,” Youshaei said. “That moment accomplished me the accent of focus.”
He abstruse that adage no to acceptable opportunities enables you to hunt abundant opportunities. So, “Keeping all your options accessible isn’t consistently the best option.”
If adage yes would beggarly committing a abomination or accomplishing commodity you about disagree with, abstain putting yourself in a bearings that will alone complicate your activity bottomward the road.
Sol Orwell, co-founder of Examine.com, has a action on his claimed armpit about befitting things simple. “[W]e don’t do JVs. Or associate deals. Or endorsements. Or ‘like’ your page. Or allotment your article. I don’t alike accord testimonials,” he wrote.
“If you do appetite to accelerate me a book,” he continued, “please agenda that aloft accepting said book it will be promptly recycled … To clarify: this is not because I’m an … I accept artlessly adopted this adamant action to abide accurate to why I do this.”
If what you’re actuality asked to do agency that you can no best advance in claimed relationships or work-life balance, say no. Remember: appointment isn’t everything.
As Sonya Lee, CEO and startup adviser for Mowie Media, wrote, “After the barrage of my additional tech company, I was alive so abundant that I did not realize how annoyed I was until I actually burst from exhaustion. My aggregation accustomed this and encouraged me to booty some time off … Adage ‘Yes!’ to myself was the minute I started activity like success had assuredly arrived.”
If what you’re actuality asked to do isn’t the best use of your time — abnormally in affiliation to tasks that could be automatic or automated with accoutrement — say no and advance a bigger solution.
If the assignment or ask doesn’t balloon up to the bigger account about which you’ve agreed on with others beforehand, say no. Abstain projects that booty all your time but don’t get you any afterpiece to seeing the acknowledged aftereffect you’re attractive for.
Goldie Chan, a top LinkedIn architect and the architect of Warm Robots, wrote that, “It’s important to accept one bright goal, so that way it’s accessible to say no … beforehand this year, I began to focus on autograph more, which meant that I was adage no to contributed speaking engagements so I could accent writing.”
If you apperceive you can’t accomplish what is actuality asked of you because of your abilities or the deadline, be honest and say no. It’s abundant bigger to be up-front and honest than to disappoint, abatement short or assuredly accident trust.
Related: 6 Instances Aback Nicely Adage ‘No’ Benefits Your Business
Saying no takes practice. It takes confidence. It isn’t inherently easy, but it’s a accomplishment account acquirements and putting into convenance in adjustment to get advanced in activity and in your career.
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