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The power of no

I was asked to attend a meeting this morning.  It was a little early, but I certainly could have been there.  But as I sit here typing this post, I am glad that I said “no.”

When you are a people pleaser, a do-er or an entrepreneur, sometimes the hardest thing in the world is to say the word “no.”  You want to help and you love to be included.  So when you get the request to join a committee, attend a meeting, or help on a project your automatic response is to say “yes” and figure it out.  And, in my experience, the more successful you get the more people want you on their committee!

But there is a cost to saying “yes” to everything.

You end up with a calendar full of things that you really don’t care about.  It’s not that you are against them.  In theory, you think they are great.  But you calendar quickly becomes full of activities that you are NOT passionate about.  And of course the problem is, you don’t have time for the things you are passionate about!

Several years ago I came across a rule from Derek Sivers from his book Anything You Want.  Though I still struggle to apply it all the time, it has helped me tremendously when it comes to making decisions about what to join.  The rule is simple.

If this answer is not “Hell yes,” it’s “No.”

In other words, if you are so excited that you say “Hell yes,” the answer is easy.  You will more than willing to bump other stuff off your calendar to work on this project.  You are excited about it!  But if you hesitate at all, then the answer is probably “no.”  Otherwise you get a calendar full of things are are “meh” about.  You are not against them.  You just don’t really care.

And that is no way to live your life…or to be productive.  So take a look at your calendar and evaluate how many things are “hell yes,” and how many things should be a “no.”  You might want to re-evaluate your priorities and embrace the Power of No.

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