“No” Can Do

We all want as leaders to be the best we can.  We want to stand out and to shine.  I have some good news for you.

Taking your game to the next level may be as simple as employing one simple word.  That word is “no.”

Knowing when to say “no” is one of the simplest but most powerful keys to effective leadership.  A leader knows his or her vision and mission and must be able to say “no” to everything else in order to be as effective as possible.  If leaders say yes to too many things they end up overcommitted and unable to really make a significant impact in any one endeavor.  There are a great many good things out there, it can be hard to say no. But unless you do you can’t bring your full focus, attention, and effort into the ring.

When you say “no” to one thing, you can do something else that much better.

Here’s a quick example:

I have $1000 to give to charity.  Well, there are a great many worthy charities out there.  Let’s say that 1000 charities come to me asking for a donation.  If I give to all of them, they each get $1. That doesn’t do any of them much good. But if I pick one or two, I can now give an amount that makes a meaningful difference for that organization.

It’s the same with your time, focus, energy, and talent. There are a great many worthy goals out there. You have to find the one or two that you are passionate about, that allow you to work from your strengths, and go for it all out. Easier said than done.

At SOS Leadership, we teach that there are 3 obstacles to your goals.  Yourself, everyone else, and YOUR OTHER GOALS.

Another example, this one from my personal life.  I had a goal last year to get in better shape. I love biking and I laid out plans to bike on a regular basis. I also had a goal to spend more quality time with my family. I quickly realized that given my schedule these goals were going to conflict. I looked at changing my schedule, but realized that if I biked early or late I would not be getting the sleep I need to be my best self. So I had a choice. I could go for each goal 50%, or I could go 100% for one of them. After thinking it over, I realized that my family is more important and that I could find something else to do for exercise. So I gave up on biking for the sake of the goal of being with my family.

We are faced with this type of choice on a regular basis. The only way to successfully navigate these choices is to know what matters most. If you know that, you can choose where to put your time and effort so that you will achieve the greatest possible level of personal satisfaction and be the most effective leader possible.

You will have to say “no” a great many times, but the result will be a resounding “YES!” for the things and people that matter most.

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