How many times have you gotten yourself rolling on a task or project and really started making significant progress? You finally start to see the end point and are about to complete it and then someone or something comes up and you feel as though you must say yes to and in saying yes to this new thing you completely derail the task or project you were so close to completing?


Maybe you wanted to develop a new habit or productive behavior and just as you were starting to make it part of your daily routine, you found another shiny new object to focus your attention and your new habit got sent into the dust-bin of good intentions?


One common characteristic of High Performers is that they tend to say “no” to a lot of things, especially when they have decided to put there focus and energy into something which they have deemed of high value and importance.


This may seem counter-intuitive on your road to climbing the ladder of success. After all if we constantly say no to the opportunities that present themselves aren’t we stifling our own growth and presenting ourselves as unwilling to be a team player? The short answer is no!


Let me ask you:


Would you rather be known as someone that doesn’t let daily distractions of the day allow you deviate from accomplishing your intended outcomes? Do you want to be known as someone that puts out high quality work when given the opportunity/ Or would you rather be a person that constantly bounces around from task to task, looking frazzled, unfocused, and putting our average quality work?


Would you like to be known for your ability to constantly move the needle forward every day and someone that focuses their energy and attention on high value, productive tasks? Or that person that gets consumed with the busy work and continuously confuses motion with progress?


If you plan to end up on the right side of those questions, then you may want to learn to say “no” a bit more often.


The challenge to actually accomplishing this seemingly simple task is that we live in a world where delayed gratification and the high achievement that tends to come along with it, is usually usurped by the need for immediate gratification.


This over-hyped importance that our emotional brain tends to place on the present is what causes us to say yes when our logical brain can think of a hundred reasons why we should say “no.” And then as often happens we tell ourselves, “I should have said this or I shouldn’t have said that, I should, I should, I should” and then we start “shoulding” all over ourselves and everyone else. Which as you probably can attest to, isn’t very productive and certainly will not help us achieve at a higher level.


The actor Jim Carrey has a movie called the “Yes Man” which he attends a seminar that has you make a commitment in which you must say “Yes” to every request that get’s made of you. It makes for good Hollywood humor as he begins going crazy with every single thing he decides to commit to. In the end however he learns that saying “Yes” was just a good way to get himself out of his comfort zone of settling for mediocrity. Saying “Yes” opened up new doors and new opportunities, but like anything else can become a dangerous habit if you don’t learn how to say no at some point.


In our businesses and in our own lives there are so many amazing opportunities that I hope we all have the common sense to say “yes” because engaging in those opportunities can propel us towards our desired outcomes. Just remember, “Yes” will get you going in the right direction, but “No” can actually keep you going.


Coach Tim’s questions for the Yes-No Dilemma:


Where has saying yes gotten me into trouble lately?

How would I handle that same situation is given another opportunity?

What are the circumstances that usually cause me to say yes when no is the right response?

Who are the people I have a hard time saying no to?

How can I design a response to these situations and people that will allow me to say no in a way I am comfortable?


Looking forward to our next connection


Thoughts for the week:


The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is easy to say yes. –Tony Blair


When you say yes to others, make sure you are not saying no to yourself. – Paulo Coelho


You can be a good person with a kind heart and still say no. –unknown


It’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important. – Steve Jobs


Saying no to something is actually more powerful than saying yes. –Tom Hanks


No is a complete sentence. It does not require justification of explanation. -Unknown