As children growing up, we said “NO” all the time. If we didn’t want to eat our vegetables…NO!  If we didn’t want to cut the grass before going out…NO!  Unfortunately, somewhere along our aging timeline we stopped using that word as frequently.  The reason for that is probably because being on the receiving end of a no can be brutal.  We subconsciously figure saying yes more might help our chances with hearing the opposite less often in our life.  This is especially true for entrepreneurs.

The reason why I said unfortunately, in the paragraph above, is we because don’t use no as often as it would be helpful to do. Any smart and seasoned entrepreneur knows that saying no is paramount to his/her success because it allows you to be in control of your most critical resource, time.  One of the biggest companies in the world, Google, even puts so much emphasis on the word that they make it a part of their upper managers quarterly employment review process. It’s likely that we are unaware of the surge of strength we draw from it because, in part, it is easily confused with negativity.  I get it though, its hard and awkward to say no to current, potential, or future colleagues.  That is why you need a simple checklist to ensure you are saying it at the right times.

  1. What do I gain out of doing this task or attending this function?
  2. Do I truly want to do this?
  3. What else will I do with my time if I don’t do this? (Remember opportunity cost?)

If you have decided that “no” is the right move in a situation, be ready to offer value to lessen the negative effect.  Ways you can do that is to suggest an alternative colleague that would be as qualified or more than yourself.  You can also provide a straightforward and quick tactic/strategy for the person to use to achieve their desired goal that doesn’t include yourself.

So why should you start saying no more in the first place?  No is both the tool and the barrier by which we establish and maintain the distinct perimeter of the self.  It provides the following:

  1. Time to focus more on things you’re truly passionate about in life.
  2. Safety from overextending yourself and having more of a sense of control on your life.
  3. Opportunities you didn’t even know were out there. Having time for daily thought is one of the most underrated things in the universe.