No. It’s a small word but it carries a lot of power.
We enjoy saying yes but do we ever become ok with saying no? This topic has come up for me a lot lately in business and in my personal life. I read an article recently that a colleague of mine wrote called “Making the Most out of NO”. You can read that article here. Bobbie’s article resonated with me because many times in my career I have been told no. I had to fight for my career in accounting because at every turn I was told things like, “you don’t have enough experience”, “you don’t have a degree”, “you are too old, too young, you are a woman”. But fast forward to the present and I have over 20 years of experience under my belt. I have a Masters in my field of Accounting. I run my own company. Just like Bobbie mentioned in her article, I took the “no” and used it to fuel me. I think of all those times that no made me fight harder, be stronger, do better. But, I have been thinking lately about times we must say no ourselves. When should I say no to others? . I wouldn’t call myself a people pleaser by any means but I do love to help others any chance I can. I enjoy sharing my talents with others. Sometimes that has me giving way too much of myself and my time. Here are five times I feel it is important to say no in business:
1) By saying yes you aren’t protecting your time. – We all want to say yes to others requests but have you ever thought that by saying yes to others you are putting those things that are important to you on hold? It is the age old cost principle. There is a cost to every decision. Saying yes is a decision that comes with a cost. That cost in the very least is your time. It can cost you your business if you spend so much time responding to the needs of others (clients included) that you don’t do those things that you need to do, like work on your own business. I think of networking. I love to network and meet other business professionals but networking can consume so much of our time and can even become a full-time job. We must protect our time even when it is something we enjoy.
2) When saying no means standing for what you believe and value. – If you waiver on exactly where you stand on things or you are not clear on what your values are then don’t run a business. You will quickly and frequently be tested in these areas. You will consistenly find that you must hold firm in your values and what you consider non negotiable. There is always someone looking to test the boundaries and limits of your beliefs. Many times this is a subtle creep into a relationship. It isn’t always black and white as life is made up of a lot of gray areas. Be clear on where you stand and what you believe and be ok saying no when needed.
3) When the “yes” is not your best yes. – There are lots of things in life that are good but that doesn’t mean we should always do them. Sometimes the timing isn’t right, the money isn’t right or we have too much on our plate. By saying yes to something we always have to sacrifice something else. Are you willing to put aside the best for you for something that is simply good? We all have the same hours in a day. How we use them shapes our lives, our businesses. I only want to choose the best uses of my time.
4) When someone is abusing you, your time or your kindness – We work so hard to be helpful or kind to others that sometimes we don’t always see how they are taking advantage of us, abusing our good nature or our kindness. I think of a situation where I had helped a colleague many times figure out a specific program with both use. When they called me one day and I said, I’m sorry, I don’t have time to help you, they got angry with me. Why? They felt that I should drop everything and help them when they called. I had to stop the cycle as they were taking advantage of my kindness.
5) Saying no to negative thoughts – We all have them. The negative chatter that runs through our minds. You aren’t good enough, smart enough, experienced enough. You shouldn’t do that because…When the negative thoughts or fears start, stop them in their tracks. Sometimes we have to boss our thoughts around a little. The thoughts in your mind are much more powerful than anything another human being can say to you. Don’t let that derail your success!