Is Your “No” Button Working?


Article by Joan FriedlanderFor years, I heard that if you want to get something done, ask a busy person to do it. Implication: busy people are successful. I’m sure some people still subscribe to this philosophy. I don’t any more, especially when it comes to successful business ownership. You can be quite busy and involved in this, that, and the other thing. But unless this, that, and the other thing connect with your purpose and support your goals, busy doesn’t work very well. Perhaps “if you want to get something done, ask a busy person” is an accurate statement. The question is this. Do you want to be that busy person?

For the past five years, I’ve been studying the impact of attitudes, beliefs, and habits on actions and results. Over and over again, I’ve found that saying “no” is one of the most certain ways to have more of what you want in life. I suspect it has to do with the connection between clarity and commitment, and their mysterious connection to the laws of abundance and attraction.

Once in a while, I’ll run across someone who just doesn’t have the capacity to say “No, that won’t work for me.” It’s such a simple statement, yet some people experience extreme anxiety even when it’s really the best response.

To the logical mind, such a statement is a no-brainer. But the emotional mind, the one that often calls the shots, seems to say that it’s better to sublimate your personal interests than to risk disappointing someone else. This becomes particularly problematic when emotional responses impede good business decisions. One has nothing to do with the other, yet some people fail to separate the two.

  1. Do you tend to say yes to people or assignments that you really ought to say no to? What has it cost you to do so? Have you learned what the clues are?
  2. Do you respond to every whim of your clients, or do you create guidelines with your clients so they know what to expect from you, and when and how?
  3. Do you promise yourself you’ll say no next time, only to say yes again?

Every time you make a decision, or take an action, you are making a choice. You choose what you will spend time on and what you won’t spend time on. You can’t be in two places at once. You can’t effectively do two things at once. Every minute of every day you choose how to spend your energy, or you react and let other people, circumstances, or emotions choose for you. As you know, some days it comes easier than others.

Healthy, successful people do periodically grapple with unchallenged thoughts, feelings, or beliefs that interfere with their ability to make healthy choices. After all, nobody is perfect. But they become fewer and farther between, and cause less angst and disruption.

It’s only through making seemingly difficult choices that such decisions come more easily over time. I liken it to going through an eye of a needle. The first time is always the hardest. Know that every time you make a choice from a place of personal integrity, you build your reservoir of personal power and you are rewarded. The “universe” sends a little gift that reinforces the power of your choice in that moment. Healthy, successful people have learned this through experience and trust it.

Remember this: The more often you make choices that correlate with your values, needs, and commitments, the greater your ability to attract what you say you want. If you need help, buddy up with someone else also committed to personal success, or find a coach to support you. Your life matters.

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