THE POWER OF A TIMELY ‘NO’

by Linda Feinholz · 0 comments

By Linda Feinholz, “Your Success Catalyst”

One of my private coaching clients had an epiphany this week. 

It took place because Scott had changed his schedule, changed his pattern, and stopped what he was doing to join me in a conversation outside the bounds of his To Do list for the week. 

The only reason he was available for his own revelation was that he said “Yes” to changing his pattern and making time to meet with me. 

For many business owners, professionals and entrepreneurs, your workload has you so inundated that you simply don’t have the time to devote to taking in new information. Sometimes our insights come as a result of effort and sometimes they come as unexpected gifts. If you’re like me, you know from personal experience that if you immerse yourself in new information, and apply it to a situation you’re facing, you’ll get an “Ah Ha!” that can change your life. 

Once in a while, a chance conversation on an airplane, a comment on the radio, or a line in an article on an unexpected topic can utterly shift your perspective. Any of those events can trigger your excitement about your business and your life. 

The challenge is how to break the rhythm of staying busy on what is already known. It’s understandable that you’d rather say ‘No’ to a change in where you’re placing your attention. After all, its so much easier to just stick with the habit of running on automatic… staying over booked, loaded with more To Dos than you will ever get accomplished. Saying “Yes” to everything you put on your list makes you certain that you’re taking action. And if you’re in action then you believe you’re making some sort of progress on those items you’ve made a commitment to get done. 

Creating that shift in time often makes us anxious, tense and impatient at the very idea of changing our habits. And rather than step into that discomfort, we’ll keep immersed in the familiar stress we’ve already piled on. 

In fact, each time Scott is effective at accomplishing a business challenge, he’s approached with three more challenges his clients want him to take on. And wanting to be of service to their success, he keeps saying “Yes.” He’s been thinking that saying “no” means he’ll be letting people down, breaking commitments, avoiding responsibility, being selfish. 

If you’re like Scott, you’ve got it all wrong. In fact, while you’ve been assuming that “Yes” was the most powerful way to be present, you’ve got it backwards! The more you say “yes”, the less time you leave for making certain that you’re putting your own time to it’s best and highest use. 

Scott complained that he’s seldom thanked for everything he gets accomplished. Rather, he gets calls about what hasn’t been completed to someone else’s satisfaction. He’s so busy saying “Yes” to each request that he’s lost the time to evaluate whether those requests fit in with his Vision of what he wants to create. And by keeping busy, he’s eliminated any time for evaluating whether he’s being productive, effective, efficient, and valued. 

Clearly, Scott must create the selfish time for asking how a request fits in with the big picture he holds for himself. 

Just like Scott, if you want to be certain that you are creating the highest payoff from your own time, intelligence and effort, you must build in the time to check what you’re giving your attention to. You need to dedicate time for the new idea to enrich your thinking and to commit to the actions that will build your future. 

It just might be that the most powerful word you can use is “No!”

 

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