Sunday, January 1, 2012

Say Yes to No, to Kick Start the New Year!

US President Obama carried his campaign on the slogan "Yes We Can!"  Growing up "Can Do Attitude" was drilled into us.  There are numerous books on "Getting to Yes".   On and on it goes.  With all this emphasis on "yes", whatever happened to "no"?  I think it's feeling left out.  And come to think of it, what's wrong with saying "No We Can't", "Getting to No", and having a "No Can Do Attitude"?  After all, isn't saying no just as powerful as saying yes? 

By saying yes to so many things, don't we often begin to feel like we're not living a life that is our own?  Don't we end up taking on so many things that don't energize us, don't fulfill us, cause us to lose focus, and don't move us forward towards what we want? So why do we say yes so often?

Now look, I have nothing against the word yes.  It's a perfectly fine word.  But just because it has one one more letter, doesn't make it better.  So isn't it time we honor and give "no" the respect it also deserves?  

If you agree with this, I invite you for a moment to stop doing whatever you're doing right now.  Spend some time in quiet reflection and list out all that is on your plate.  Then ask yourself, of all those things you just listed, which ones can you stop doing right now.  What can you say no to.  Then take the next step.  That is stop doing it.  Just say no.  It's that simple.

For as you do, you'll discover that it'll free you up to say yeses to the things that truly matter.  You'll become more focused, more effective, more joyful by saying yes to things that move you forward and no to things that don't.  At the end of the day, isn't that what you really want?

Yes?  No?


P.S. If you're leading teams, I encourage you to share this with each of your team members and ask them to do the same.  Imagine how many valuable resources will get freed up which you can then redirect to doing more of what will move you and your organization forward.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

What a powerful blog. Saying 'no' does allow for more positive and productive 'yes' responses in our lives. I know from personal experience every time I have overextended myself by saying 'yes' because I was told 'you are the only one that can do this' or 'we just need you for a few hours each month' that I find myself regretting it. But when I pause, reflect and identify why or why not I should take on a project, I can answer with clarity 'yes' or 'no'. And I have found that saying 'no' does not mean an organization won't come back around to ask you again at a later date. I believe it helps them to respect me as an individual who understands and respects my own time.

At work, saying 'no' is a bit more difficult; however, I do find that it is okay to ask a series of questions such as: When is this due? When do you need this by? Or can this wait until tomorrow? If the answer to any of these questions are 'no' it helps me to prioritize my projects and communicate to others that I need to set aside their project to fit in something that is a bit more urgent.

So in my book, saying NO is respecting YES as it makes me more productive and valued.

Vinay Kumar said...

Thanks for your thoughtful comments Donna.

What I have learned is that when we say yes to something we really don't want to, we do a disservice to both ourselves AND to the other party for then we don't give our very best. So better to say no then to take it on and not give it our best.

As for saying no at work, I like your approach. In addition, what you can also try is saying: I can do that if...and then state what that if is and preferably it's in a form of a request. This leads to dialogue, exploration and opens up possibilities,for both sides, rather then close them.

Donna, thanks for reading my posts. I really enjoy and appreciate your thoughtful comments on my posts.

Thank you and Happy New Year to you.