Why You Need To Say No Today!

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Every seasoned entrepreneur knows there’s an ebb and flow to their business. It’s cyclical. There are seasons of high production, education, innovation, planning, contentment, and growth to name a few. When you’re in rapid growth mode, your energy is no doubt soaring and you’re trying new things. The problem becomes when you start trying too many things or saying yes to all the things and wind up weighing yourself down.

It’s normal to want to say yes to everything when you’re focused on growth because anything you haven’t tried yet could be the one ingredient your previous recipe for success was missing… or so you tell yourself. I’ve been there. I’ve grasped at different opportunities, ideas, and partnerships all at the same time before, in a dedicated effort to accelerate my business. I’ve been totally guilty of weighing myself down with too many projects to be able to move forward at a significant speed with any one of them. Now I know better.

It’s normal to say yes to shiny objects that have the potential to increase the trajectory of your business, but healthy? Not when saying yes means overcommitting yourself, time, energy, and resources. Remember, not all shiny objects are diamonds. Some are knives. When you overcommit, it’s nearly impossible to show up at your best in your business and other areas of your life that matter. So, what should you do? Learn and implement the strategy of saying no to reclaim time and reduce stress. It has the power to transform your life.

No. Na. Nie. Nu. Niet. Ne. Mai. No matter what language you speak, saying no to others can be hard even though the strategy is quite simple. You might fear doing so makes you look selfish, rude, or lazy, but saying yes to everything will leave you with too much to do in the limited time you have, making you feel overwhelmed and distracting you from what's important. I hear from clients all the time how upset they are that other people are constantly bogging them down with meetings, interruptions, collaborations, and what feels like busy work. They voice that they can’t do what matters to them the most, be it growing their business or spending time with loved ones, because they feel they’re slaves to everyone else’s beckon call. The truth is no one is responsible for creating your schedule except you. If you find yourself acquiescing to every request of your time, you only have yourself to blame but you can change your course. Incorporate the word no into your vocabulary and use it as often as needed so you can focus on your own priorities.

Warren Buffett said, "The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people, is that really successful people say no to almost everything." Learn to filter every opportunity through your definition of success so you can invest your time in your high-value activities, not ones that limit your time and energy and provide little return. Choosing to say no to such activities is like saying a resounding yes to your own ambitions and success.

Unsure of what you should be saying no to? Trust your gut. So long as you are clear on your goals, you should have a pretty great idea of what activities align with them and your vision of success. You know where you want to go and know which activities are sure to keep you on that path versus which ones will derail you. Lean into those instincts and say no to any requests of your time that don’t align with your goals so you can fully show up in the yeses that light you up and grow your business. If you’re not clear on your goals, make getting clarity on them a priority.

We know we can’t possibly do everything but admitting that to others can be difficult (at least I have certainly felt that way). Back when we were newlyweds, my husband helped me start saying no more often. I observed him being direct and having no issue with saying no, even without explanation, which is the part I had the most difficulty with. Without fail, I always felt the need to explain myself and justify why I was saying no. My husband once asked, “Does explaining make you feel better or them?” After pondering his question for some time, I realized that it probably just made me feel better because no matter what, they only heard that I said no. Over the years, I’ve built up my saying no muscle. Saying no has not only become easier; it's become my religion. If you don’t feel like you can say no to someone even though you know you should, reach out to a friend or business bestie and talk it out until you can comfortably follow your gut and say no.

When it's time to deliver the message, get it out politely and effectively with a simple "No" or "Sorry, I can't." It’s important to be decisive about saying no. If you don't want to or won't be able to do whatever is being requested, don't offer leeway by saying, "I can't today but I'll get to it another time," or "I'm busy right now but maybe later." You would just be opening yourself up to having to say no again in the future. Just be cordial and direct. You'll be more respected for your decisiveness at the end of the day.

No one can be everything to everyone or show up everywhere. Saying yes when you want to say no just adds long-term stress to your already overworked body and brain. And while saying no in any situation might bring on a smidgen of stress, it will only last a short time in comparison while also conserving your energy and time and giving you more freedom to pursue your high-value activities. Muster up the courage to say no to activities that don’t add value to your life or serve your goals so you can double down on the activities that do.

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Amber De La Garza

About the author

Amber De La Garza is The Productivity Specialist! Amber helps small business owners maximize profits, reduce stress, and make time for what matters most by improving their time management and elevating their productivity! Amber is a sought after coach, trainer, speaker, writer, host of the Small Business Straight Talk Podcast, and creator of Leverage Lab®.

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