Learning when and how to say ‘NO’ is a critical factor in your pursuit of success. Whilst saying ‘yes’ can be a wonderful thing, opening you up to new possibilities and opportunities it’s the power and strength to say ‘no’ that will ensure you remain clearly on your path to greatness. It can be extremely challenging and sometimes even stressful for those of us who don’t like to let people down, create disappointment or simply prefer pleasing others when we know deep down ‘yes’ is the wrong answer.
Our intuition can be a powerfully ally in this case when faced with a dilemma such as this. It’s important to understand and set your personal boundaries and limits when your inner voice attempts to hijack your preferred decision. It’s important to understand why you feel a certain way and what is driving you to succumb to this decision – understanding your thoughts and feelings is something to reflect on each time you realise this has happened to you.
Many people will simply not understand your decision at first when you listen to your own thoughts as their agenda or plan is not always aligned to your own – why live out someone else’s life or business plan if it doesn’t fit your own. By answering ‘yes’ when you know deep down ‘no’ was the better response you potentially can get sidelined and lose valuable time pursuing your strategic objectives. It’s therefore critical that when you reach these signposts you ensure your path to success is clearly mapped out and that when faced with a decision you stick to the correct path to reach your destination.
Again this takes practice. Saying ‘no’ can be incredibly brave depending on the circumstances. In fact the very prospect of saying that tiny word can fill you with anxiety in the days, weeks even months before you have to respond. The good news is, you have the control, no one can make you say ‘yes’ – in fact sometimes its admirable to stand your ground – not lease because its your time others are happy to waste. Additionally you may say ‘yes’ but despite this you may not give your all and as we know to become unstoppable you have to leave nothing on the table if you want to achieve extraordinary success in your career and in life.
The right to assert yourself in line with what you desire is yours and yours alone. You don’t have to conform to what everyone else is doing if it’s not in line with your goals or core values. You are unique and therefore hold the power to choose how you act and respond. When the lights go out and you judge yourself you should feel comforted in the knowledge that you chose wisely and not regret those decisions you made.
The two little letters are incredibly powerful when used at the right time, yes you may miss some opportunities however if you truly understand your purpose then saying NO will get increasingly easier.
Tom Hanks mused over this dilemma reflecting to Business Insider saying ‘I realised that I had to start saying a very, very difficult word to people, which was ‘no’. By saying no means you made the choice of the type of story you wanted to tell and the type of character you want to play.’ If you research many successful business leaders and other individuals in different careers many will tell you that saying NO is a powerful tool contributing to their success – in fact the ability to say no ensured Steve Jobs would become one of the most focused individuals in a generation.
Whatever the decision or choice you are faced with on a daily basis, pause for a moment and consider the answer before you give it, is it really aligned to the things you really want to accomplish, reflect how you feel each time (regardless of the answer you gave) and then consider the implications. This comes back to self awareness and how you choose to respond in different situations therefore like everything, start small, practice with easier choices and remember how you feel when you proudly make a decision you really wanted to make rather than pleasing someone else and incrementally build on this day by day until you build the strength to face down those big tough life choices – you’ll amaze yourself, build strength and character and remain firmly on the path to success.