Just Say No!!!

Quote of the Week

“There is an art of which every man should be a master, the art of reflection. If you are not a thinking man, to what purpose are you a man at all?”

William Hart Coleridge

Just Say No!!!

by Phyllis Sisenwine

Earlier this year, I was invited to join a colleague on a big project. She complimented me by saying I was the perfect partner for this venture. She also said she selected me because of my energy and enthusiasm. She is extremely successful and her comments flattered and enticed me. I said I would consider it.

I thought about the revenue potential, which was quite good and how much I would enjoy collaborating with her. We had a few telephone meetings, and then set a date to get together. We agreed on objectives that we would both accomplish before our meeting. I was doing research and moving forward with the project when I began to realize that I really didn’t want to do it.

I looked at my five-year plan for my business. Was this in line with my plan? Was I on track? I called my colleague and told her I had decided to say no. I suggested someone else who might be more interested at this time. The two of them connected and the project is developing without me.

It was difficult for me to say no. I don’t like to disappoint people. I did feel relieved after I bowed out of the project because it wasn’t totally on track with my long-range goals A few months later I started writing my book, Market you Must. . .for lawyers which was recently completed. Saying no to one project created space for another which was more in line with my goals. I have a sign in my office that reads, “Is it an absolute yes? If not, say NO!” This is a helpful reminder to keep me on track.

I often work with clients who struggle to stay focused on what is really important to them. An interesting project that takes away time and energy from what is really more important for their business plan sidetracks them. One client wants to sell his business in five years. He was diversifying too much and accepting any project that came his way. We worked on fine-tuning his business strategies and he decided to accept only projects that would increase the value of his business. Sometimes it is difficult to say no to a prospective client, but it can definitely get you off track when you say yes to everything that comes along.

Ask yourself before saying yes, “Will this enhance my business or my life?” “Will working on this project be joyful or stressful?” So often lawyers accept cases knowing they will be difficult and draining. Financial planners accept clients knowing that the size of their estate is not up to their minimum standards. Some projects are easy to say no to. Most of the time it’s difficult.

As we strengthen our “saying no” muscles we want to look at what we really value. Before accepting any offer, ask yourself if it is something that you really want. Do you want to improve relationships or improve your health? Do you start out with the best intentions but get sidetracked because of all the projects and obligations that get in the way? What do you want to say no to? What are the logical steps needed to get you where you want to be?

It wasn’t easy for me to turn down that project. I like a challenge and I could have made the necessary time available, but it wasn’t getting me closer to where I want to be. I created space for something more in line with my values at this time. It’s important to say no firmly and gracefully to what you don’t want. So, the next time you’re offered a project or a new opportunity, first pause, reflect and then respond. And if it’s not on track with what you really want to do, just say NO!

Copyright 2009, All Rights Reserved. Phyllis Sisenwine, Master Certified Coach, can be reached at www.powerfulcoaching.com.

Coaching Call to Action

As we enter this New Year, we may be drawn to say “yes” to everything that comes our way due to the economy. I request that you take Phyllis’s advice and as the offerings come your way, pause, reflect and respond. Have a thought on today’s Tip?