I am in the middle of a brutal 8-week stretch of weekend commitments (three bar mitzvahs and five hockey tournaments) that take us out of town. All good things, but man, why did we say yes to everything? I am exhausted and distracted and just want to crawl into bed and stay there for about a week.
We do this in our businesses, too.
“Can we meet for coffee? I need advice – do you have time for a call? Would you like to sponsor an event? Can you write a guest blog? Would you like to join me at a networking event? Can you donate a product or service for a charity auction?”
The requests just keep coming. All of them are worthwhile, and if there were 37 hours in a day, maybe we could do half of them. But the problem is that when you keep saying yes to everything, you are saying no to working on your business. Add up the hours you work on your business at the end of a week or month and think about what you accomplished. Not much.
Women suffer from this more than men because we have been programmed from a young age to be accommodating and say yes.
Well my friends, it’s time to start saying no to things that will not directly benefit your business. Block out time when you won’t answer the phone or check email – and make it enough time to actually get some things accomplished.
It’s amazing what happens when you do this! Not only do you get sh** done, you wind up feeling energized and proud of what you’ve accomplished. You suddenly realize that there is a clear path to achieving your goals, you just have to steer clear of distractions. It also makes it easier to start saying no once you realize the benefits.
I was recently working with a business owner who was struggling with two issues. Every month when we met, she told me she needed to hire more staff and move to a bigger physical space. Each month would pass and she wouldn’t make much progress because she was too busy saying yes to clients.
Finally, she made the decision to focus on these two issues. She scaled back her client commitments. Instead of seeing 15 clients a week, she was only seeing eight. Suddenly, she had significantly more time and energy to solve her staffing and space issues.
I bet you can guess what happened.
She has hired two additional staff members and has warm leads on at least one more. She finally called a Realtor, who showed her the perfect space for her expansion.
As business owners, we worry about generating business. We worry that saying no will have dire financial consequences. However, saying yes too often can be just as dangerous.