(It’s also one of the simplest.)
Many of us tend to have trouble saying no to requests for our time, energy and expertise.
I am certainly guilty…especially lately.
In recent months, I’ve been feeling like there’s an increased demand for my time, participation and professional expertise. I’m honored to be considered someone people want advice from or someone people want in their group or at their event, but at some point, a line needs to be drawn.
While I want to help as many people as I can and be involved in everything, the truth of the matter is, I can’t help everyone and I can’t be everywhere. Unfortunately, there are only 24 hours in a day and between running a business and maintaining a lifestyle I love, something’s gotta give.
Here’s what I’ve learned lately about gently saying no to requests that don’t align with your goals or passions.
When you say NO, you are actually saying YES to the things that matter…and the things that move you closer to your goals. (Like this idea? Click here to tweet it)
The main reason saying no is challenging for me is because I want to help people.
A wise friend and fellow solopreneur (Hi Amy Chick!) helped me recognize that saying no doesn’t make me a bad or mean person.I told Amy I’m scared to say no to people because I’ve built my brand on being nice and useful. When I told her my fears around saying no, she said:
“No, you’ve built your brand on being bold and gutsy. You just happen to also be a nice person.”
Her response really struck me. I hadn’t thought about my brand and personality in that way before. Amy helped me realize I can *still* be a helpful (and nice!) person, even when saying no.
A couple of years ago, another smart friend told me something that has stuck with me every day and through every decision I make in regards to how I spend my time.
She said: “I find there are often two categories of people: the over doers and the under doers. The over doers find themselves too busy to do anything well and the under doers are lazy. There are a smart few, a different group, who understand that in order to conquer the world it’s best to be long-term greedy by focusing on being stellar at few things before moving onto others instead of trying (often unsuccessfully) to accomplish it all.”
I’m choosing long-term greedy. What about you?
Sometimes (even often) you need to say no. You need to recognize and respect your boundaries in order to reach your goals.
Remember: saying no doesn’t make you a mean or unhelpful person. Instead, it makes you a smart person who recognizes boundaries and shows respect to yourself and your dreams.
(Pssst- if you need help with physically figuring out how to say no-this can sometimes be the hardest part-Alexandra Franzen’s got a five-step script for crafting the perfect no.)
Tell me about a time you said NO to something to say yes to something more important. I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.
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