No. It’s such a small word packed with so much power.
Because most of us are doers, it’s not easy to say “no.” It feels a little like failure, like you’re letting someone else down.
Yes, is easier. It feels like we just might win the popularity contest with yes. But it doesn’t necessarily always make us happier.
In fact, yes can make things a whole lot harder than they need to be. Squeezing us and our precious time until we don’t have anything left for anyone else, let alone for ourselves. Yes can compromise quality.
No is often better.
- No, I can’t rush to finish the report by tomorrow – I will finish it by Monday and the final version will be much better.
- No, I can’t just email it to you – I need to have a one-on-one conversation so we can hammer out the details of the project.
- No, I can’t attend the party tonight – I’m staying in and reading a book that inspires me.
- No, I don’t want 12 candy bars for a dollar – but I’ll donate 12 dollars to your organization.
- No, I’m not going to send holiday cards out this year – I’m going to spend the afternoon helping my elderly neighbor put lights on her house instead.
Once you practice saying “no” it gets easier. It can also create boundaries and scarcity that let others know your time is valuable.
“Yes” then becomes something very meaningful. It is a commitment of your time and energy that you give willingly, not because you feel obligated or didn’t have the strength to say “no.”
Your career takes a tremendous amount of your time and emotional energy. When you go to work, do the things that count, and say no to the things that don’t.
Only you can set the boundaries that free you up to do the things that matter most.
Start by saying “no”.
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