In this episode of Off The Charts, we’re taking a look at a skill that’s going to help you grow your business in unimaginable ways.
And counter-intuitively, it all starts with saying no.
In the early days of your business, it pays to say yes. Yes to projects and clients you’re not sure will be a good fit… because the only way to learn what you love doing and who you prefer to work with is to try it out.
But as you start to learn more about yourself, your business, and your marketplace… you’ll eventually need to become more selective.
Many times we say yes, because we’re not clear on what a yes will do to other priorities. When you say yes to one thing, it means no for something else.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day, and while we all want to please everyone and not ruffle any feathers… By saying yes when we really mean no, we just open the door to resentment and poor outcomes down the line.
Learn to say no without feeling guilty
So here are my tips for learning how to say no without feeling guilty:
1. Design your schedule for yourself first, and then fit in your business priorities, and only after that any collaborations or invitations that fit in.
2. Having a plan and schedule helps you say no, but you’ll want to leave yourself some margin for magic. Leave enough space so that if Oprah or Warren Buffett call to hang out, you’ll be able to make it work.
3. Delivering the no: it’s a muscle you’ll need to practice, especially if you’re conditioned to be good like most of us are… Here are some sample scripts that you can use as a starting point.
Saying no in an email:
Let’s say somebody asks to meet you for coffee to pick your brain. You calculate that meeting with someone takes about 4 hours of your time between the scheduling, travel, and interruption to your day.
Your answer could be: “Thanks so much for the invitation. I’m working on a big launch right now, and while I’d love to meet for coffee, the best way to get my brain on your project is to hire me for a consulting session.”
Saying no in person:
You’re at a party and someone asks you to participate in a joint venture project, and you’re not sure if it’s the right fit for your business right now.
Your answer could be: “Ooh, that sounds interesting. I can’t commit to anything without checking with my calendar and my team.”
Trust me, it’s not easy, but saying no without feeling guilty is an important step to having strong boundaries around your work and personal life.
And I haven’t got it all figured out myself, I sometimes still feel guilty saying no… but I’ve also experienced what happens when I say yes to everyone else and get burned out without moving my priorities forward.
Your Turn To Comment!
Now I want to hear from you… what’s your script, trick, or advice for saying no? Do you have a feel-good phrase or mantra that reminds you of your objectives when you’re about to say yes when you really mean no?
Leave a comment below and share it with us!