For today, just for today, I dare you to channel your inner two year old. What does this mean? Before I tell you, take a moment and think about a two year old. What was their favorite word?
Are you ready to take a bath? No!
Eat your peas! No!
Would you like some ice cream? No!
At a certain stage in our lives, it really doesn’t matter what someone else asks or demands of you. It doesn’t matter if we really want to do it or not. For a brief period of time almost every question, request and demand was answered with a single word: No!
All right, I agree, this is not universal, but it’s close. And I’m sure it’s not news to you. So why am I bringing it up?
Because, as we grow older we start to unconsciously lose our ability to just say No! As a result, we wind up saying yes to so many things that don’t serve us, both personally and professionally.
Are you ready to leave? Sure.
Get this report done by Wednesday! Yes, sir.
Would you like to go for a walk? Ok.
When in reality you are not ready to leave, you would like until Thursday morning to make sure the report is correct, and you would really rather sit in the sun and read or go for an invigorating run rather than stroll through the park. And yet, you said yes to all of them.
To keep this post short, I am going to focus in on small business owners and how this affects them. As a small business owner, I have fallen prey to the same yes syndrome.
Try this marketing approach – ok.
This book will change everything, read it – sure.
Here are 5 key ways to grow your business, you better implement them all – you’re right, I’ll get moving.
Did you know that one of my biggest failures as a speaker came as a direct result of my efforts to implement all the techniques that my mentor was recommending? It was not pretty. People were actually leaving the room as I spoke. I tried to tell myself it was because happy hour had started. But I knew, even before the cutting reviews arrived in my email inbox, that it was me. After contemplating whether I was cut out for this business, I went back to my mentor and set down new rules. Rules that included my right and responsibility to say No!
Yes, I said both right and responsibility. You have the right to say no. It is your life, and you are welcome to screw it up or make it great in any way you choose. If you are a small business owner, this means that it is your business. And you have the right to blow it up in success or failure if you desire. It’s that simple.
Where it gets more complex is when you involve the responsibility part. You have the responsibility to say No when it serves your path or goal. You cannot wait for nor expect someone else to read your mind, know what you desire, or identify what is best for you at this time. Just because someone is an expert in something does not make them an expert in your needs at this moment.
One of the interesting things I learned in researching more about strategy, thinking strategically, and strategic planning is that yes is the enemy of achieving your goals. Learning to say no to truly wonderful things, as well as the terrible, provides you with the focus you require to quickly achieve your strategic goals.
While No sometimes results in ugly scenes that we wish could have been avoided, most times, when said politely and firmly, No simply provides us with the time, energy and money we want and need to move forward. And to be honest, always saying yes just to avoid the occasional and rare ugly scene is a high price to pay.
So for today, just for today, can you channel your inner two year old? Try it and see how much you get done. Try it and see how you feel. I challenge you to try it and experience how it can lead to your success.