That's a hard pass
Learning to say no has its benefits
Remember a few weeks ago when I extolled the virtues of saying yes? 💁♀️
Well, not exactly.
I’m still a proponent, especially because it opens you up to new challenges and opportunities (like the FREE one at the bottom of this newsletter — don’t miss it!), invites collaboration, empowers and affirms others, and creates an environment where it’s safe to try, fail, learn and innovate.
But always saying yes can also leave you exhausted, stressed, and time-poor, wondering why you’ve been busy but not productive.
Billionaire Warren Buffett famously said, “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”
Notice that Buffett said almost everything.
We must choose, with intention, to what we say yes and to what we say no. It all comes down to simplifying, prioritizing, and focusing our attention on what matters most.
And that means getting better at saying no; here’s how:
Be honest about what’s truly urgent and important.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of to-dos and requests, believing that everything is urgent and important, which seldom is the case. Instead, realize that not all tasks are created equal. Utilize a simple decision-making tool like the Eisenhower Box (I talked about this in my Forbes article last week!), in which you place to-dos in four boxes: Do it now for urgent and important items, Decide to schedule a time to do it for non-urgent but important tasks, Delegate it to someone else for urgent but unimportant things, and Delete items that are neither urgent nor important.
Successful people say no to everything except what’s both urgent and important.
Treat your time like the valuable and precious commodity it is.
Time is a limited and non-renewable resource. It’s hard to be productive and focused when you have many things vying for your attention. This time of year, especially, we feel obligated to say “yes” to every request, but those tasks can distract us from what we really need to do and lead to burnout. And you can’t accomplish your goals if you’re overwhelmed and overworked.
Successful people recognize that if they can’t take care of themselves, everything else suffers, and this starts with managing their time.
Ask yourself if this will help or hamper your goals.
Being agreeable and maintaining an open mindset are great for collaboration and adaptability but can eat away at your available hours. Become more discerning with your time by asking yourself two questions: What do I want? Will saying yes to this (request, event, activity, task, etc.) help me achieve that or prevent my progress? If it doesn’t excite you, speak to your values, or further your mission in life, say no.
And this doesn’t just apply to things; consider with whom you’re spending your time. If your environment, which includes the people around you, is filled with negative, overly critical, or uninspiring people, then it’s holding you back from accomplishing what you want to do. It’s time to establish firmer boundaries and only allow in those who inspire, support, and challenge you to reach for the stars.
Remember, when you say no to the things and people who no longer serve you, you can say yes to those that do.
Another thing you should say no to? Being utterly clueless. 🤷♀️
We’ve all had a boss or colleague who was completely oblivious to everything and everyone around them — they’re the worst!
These are the same folks who haven’t tapped into the power of awareness, the soft skill* that helps you better understand yourself, others, and your environment.
Cultivating awareness is an intentional practice, yet many mistakenly believe that they don’t need to work on it.
In my latest Forbes article, I share a few clues that might suggest otherwise.
And one more (FREE!) thing you won’t want to pass on… 😲
My friend, entrepreneur, business growth coach, speaker, and author Shawn Johal recently finished the playbook for his upcoming Business Elevation Virtual Summit and is giving it away for FREE today.
As an amazing bonus, you will also receive a FREE TICKET to Shawn’s Business Elevation Virtual Summit. It runs from November 15 (that’s TOMORROW!) to November 19 and features more than 35 exceptional industry experts who have found ways to build thriving businesses while living their best lives.
Vishen Lakhiani, founder and CEO of Mindvalley, opens the event on Monday, November 15th, speaking on raising human consciousness…
…and yours truly is kicking off Day 3 on Wednesday, November 17th, talking about how to tell your story on social media to magnify reach and impact.
To check out my interview with Shawn and get FREE access to the virtual summit, please click here.
P.S. Now that we’re inbox-exclusive, you might want to follow my musings across the interwebs on Forbes, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.
P.P.S. When I’m not writing this newsletter, practicing saying no, or trying not to be clueless, I’m a social media ghostwriter. (Yep, that’s a thing). I help founders, entrepreneurs, and CXOs craft their stories to communicate and connect better by magnifying their reach and impact. (Think personal branding and thought leadership.) Learn more here.
P.P.P.S. You, my coruscant friend, have great taste in newsletters—thanks for subscribing! Be sure to check out the archives to catch up on previous issues, and feel free to share this one with your friends. Or better yet, invite them to join our Illuminate Me tribe!
*I want you to learn how to cultivate and apply soft skills to your career, so I’ve created a multi-week series of articles on Forbes. My most recent article joins these previously published pieces:
This Soft Skill Helps Leaders Have (And Retain) More Innovative And Productive Teams (Empathy)
How To Harness The Power Of This Soft Skill To Immediately Electrify Your Career (Persuasion)
7 Easy Ways To Connect Better With Your Professional Colleagues (Connecting with others)
3 Ways To Master This Highly Valuable And Often Overlooked Leadership Soft Skill (Listening)
5 Ways To Sharpen The Soft Skill Every Leader Needs For Career Success (Communication)
6 Ways To Maximize Creativity When You Don’t Think You’re Creative (Creativity)
The Five Best Ways To Boost This Essential Workplace Soft Skill (Collaboration)
The One Soft Skill You Absolutely Need For Career Longevity And 5 Ways To Build It (Adaptability)
The 8 Best Ways To Level Up Your Time Management To Boost Your Career (Time Management)