I know I had a post about “the power of No” yesterday. As serendipity would have it 🙂 I had a couple of friends and acquaintances reaching out to me and sharing dilemmas they are experiencing in their lives right now. Thus the Universe seemed to saying share the spirit of these conversations.
For much of my career I have been a consultant. Much of my time spent with clients is actually helping them figure out what they need to focus on so that they can optimize success in their businesses, careers and with their own clients. I often say to them “If you don’t say No, you don’t have a strategy.” The thought behind this being if you are saying yes to everything and everyone you have no way to make differential investments in people, opportunities and projects. You have no focus. You have no direction. You are just running from one opportunity and / or crises to the next. You are boat without a rudder being blown where ever the wind and fate chose to take you.
It seems to me that the act of living our lives is very similar. If you are saying “yes” all the time then you’re not really living your life in our thoughtful, proactive and present manner. You are simply going through the motions. You are that rudderless boat. Quite often you find yourself trying to please everyone, and in fact pleasing no one, especially yourself. Note that being “easy-going,” and “going with the flow” and not actively making decisions is exactly the same as saying “yes” all the time.
So it seems to me that unless we say No, sometimes, thoughtfully and often with much care and consideration, we are not really living our lives to their fullest extent, to their fullest potential. For in saying “no” we make choices about that has priority and meaning and purpose.
Like most of us, I do need to say No more often. I am much better at it then I use to be. Certainly not as guilt ridden when those words do come from my lips.
As inspiration would have it as I was looking for graphics for this post I came upon the following post from James Altucher, How the Power of No Saved My Life, (the graphic is his as well). He also has a great slide show at on the Power of No.
May we all find the power of No when we need it?