One of my favorite quotes is from the late Steven Covey, which is “It’s easy to say ‘no’ when there is a deeper “yes” burning inside”. I believe we say ‘yes’ to too many things. I sure do. Before we know it, we are stressed, overwhelmed and doing things that we really don’t want to do. WE MUST LEARN TO SAY “NO”.

Slow down to go fast

Today, we have a vast array of choices, from what entertainment to consume to what we buy from today’s massive shopping centers. In business, especially among entrepreneurs, we are exposed to a plethora of opportunities we can capitalize on. Before we fully develop a business venture, it’s so easy to become distracted by another that comes by. WE MUST LEARN TO SAY “NO”.

Why do we say “yes” so often? We say “yes” because we don’t want to miss an opportunity. We say “yes” because we don’t want to disappoint or offend. We say “yes” because we think we want or need something. More concerning is that we say “yes” out of habit or we don’t know we can say “no”. What we need to recognize is when we say “yes” to something, we often say “no” to something else. When we say “yes” to climbing the corporate ladder of success, we often say no to work-life balance. When we say “yes” to spending our income lavishly, we say “no” to financial abundance later in life. When we say “yes” to a vocation that isn’t challenging or fulfilling, we sometimes say “no” to doing work that is our ideal fit. WE MUST LEARN TO SAY “NO”.

So, how do we say “no”?

It could be as simple as asking yourself: “What do I want more of in my life? What do I want less of?” A more impactful exercise is to get very clear of what your values and purposes are and ensure your choices are in close alignment. To simplify: what are your core “yesses”? If a choice is in conflict with your foundational “yes” then it must be a “no”, or at least be aware of the potential cost of a compromise.

When I was younger, I thought I wanted “success” and I said “yes” to anything that would move me up the corporate ladder. The cost, I’m sad to admit was deeper relationships in my life and sense of inner-peace. I was striving but never arriving. Today, I say “no” a lot more and I have greater life balance and fulfillment.

My challenge to you is to pause before you say “yes” and evaluate why you are saying “yes”. See what the cost might be to being so agreeable. This week, say “no” 5 times each day and see what impact it makes for you.