‘Very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything’ – Warren Buffet
Personally, I find saying ‘yes’ very easy, as I’m sure most of us do and it can have a
powerful impact on our sense of self-worth, our career and our reputation – but saying ‘no’ – especially when it’s right to do so – is one of the most significant steps we can take in our personal growth which ultimately drives all areas of our lives.
Learning how to say ‘no’ is an incredibly useful skill to develop, especially when it comes to living a more productive and healthy life.
Saying ‘no’ to unnecessary commitments can give you the time you need to recover and re gain focus. Saying ‘no’ to unnecessary distractions can give you the space you need to stick to what is important to you. In fact, not being able to say ‘no’, is one of the biggest weaknesses that many successful business people claim as one of their own key mistakes.
Saying ‘no’ is a challenge, unquestionably, and yet research in 2012 by Vanessa M. Patrick and Henrik Hagtvedt from the Journal of Consumer research showed that even the words we use to say ‘no’ can have a considerable outcome on our personal growth. This research centred around the concept that using language such as ‘I don’t’ instead of ‘I can’t’ can change the impact of saying ‘no’, in this case it showed that over 60% of participants actively displayed a more positive outcome in their personal growth simply by saying ‘no’ as ‘I don’t’ instead of ‘I can’t.
From personal experience and from wrestling with the notion of saying ‘no’ more than I do I have to conclude that the intrinsic benefits, both professionally and personally, are not inconsiderable and warrant some attention if only to help maintain a balance in life.
Ultimately I like to use this as a rule of thumb in developing my new discipline of saying ‘no’… Say ‘yes’ to people and things that are relevant to you, your beliefs and goals. Say ‘no’ to those things that take you away from your goals and make you lose your focus. Focus on those things that help you learn and grow both personally and professionally, things that peak your interests or speak to you in some way. Whenever it’s possible, say ‘no’ to everything else.
However, its one thing discussing the merits of saying ‘no’ where appropriate but another one putting that into practice so here is a list of tips I have come up with that have helped me.
Tips for Saying No
• Crucially, we must separate refusal from personal rejection. Remember you’re turning down a request, not a person.
• Be direct but say it with grace and authority.
• Don’t apologise and give lots of reasons as to why you are saying no.
• Remember that it is better to say no now than resent the decision at a later date.
• Don’t say “I’ll think about it” if you really don’t want to do it.
• Every time I say 'no' to something that’s not important, I’m saying 'yes' to something that is.
• Remember that your self-worth does not solely depend on how much you do for other people.
Ultimately, saying ‘no’ where appropriate can be utterly liberating !