Saying NO to Others is Saying YES to Yourself
by Jack Canfield
There are only two words that will always lead you to success. Those words are yes and no. Undoubtedly, you’ve mastered saying yes. So start practicing saying no. Your goals depend on it!
There have been great books written on the art of saying no. If you are constantly saying yes to other people, then you are constantly saying no to yourself and your goals. Ask yourself if what is being requested of you is in line with your goals, will it benefit you in some way and bring you closer to your success, or will you simply be spending your time on someone else’s good opportunity?
How much time do you waste with projects and activities that you really don’t want to do simply because you are uncomfortable saying no?
Success depends on getting good at saying no without feeling guilty. You cannot get ahead with your own goals if you are always saying yes to someone else’s projects. You can only get ahead with your desired lifestyle if you are focused on the things that will produce that lifestyle.
Create a list of things that you want to stop doing. Then make that list into policies that you follow for the lifestyle you want to live. You don’t want to let friends borrow money? Then make it your own personal policy. You don’t want to do business deals over the phone? Then make it your own personal policy. It is very easy to say what your policies are, and you don’t even have to use the word no! People respect policies. And it’s likely that no one will take your policy personally, they’ll realize it’s a boundary you have set for all occasions.
Discerning when to say no gets tricky sometimes when what you are being offered sounds pretty good. But staying focused on the prize means saying no to opportunities that sound good, but not great. You could be blocking the great opportunities from coming into your life by focusing your energy on only the good opportunities!
But how can you determine what is good and what is great? You put the opportunity in writing! Look at it and decide what questions you need to ask, what kind of information you need to gather, what you would need to do in order to make it happen. Then, compare that information with what you know about achieving your goals. Is everything in line or is this opportunity leading you down a different path? Is it congruent with the purpose you are passionate about, or does it just sound better than what you are doing right now? Talk to your advisors about potential opportunities and reflect on their knowledge and expertise. They can help you think of what will be involved and they’ll help you stay focused of your goal. A trusted advisor can help you see the writing on the wall, which you might not see on your own for your own excitement about the possibilities.
You might also consider talking to someone who is doing what you have an opportunity to do and weigh the information you gather against what you want for your own life. Trust that you will know what to do. Give yourself enough time to really think it through, you might say no to an opportunity that sounds good and find out that the really great opportunity was right around the corner! Or you might decide that this opportunity will lead you to an even greater opportunity.
Be brave in saying no to good opportunities, stay focused on your higher goals and let people know that you are committed to those goals. People will respect your clarity and drive.
Remember, just as you are in control of your feelings and attitudes, other people are in control of theirs, so if they do get upset with you for saying no…well that is a choice they make for themselves.
© 2006 Jack Canfield