The Power and Simplicity of “No”

March 13, 2018

A Blog Post by Diana Henderson about the power of saying no

No…The Simplicity of it.

Recently I heard about a study of some of the world’s most successful people. In the study they found that the more successful a person was, the more often they said no. Most successful people in the world say no to almost every opportunity given to them. They save their “yes” for the best opportunities.

Our business culture not only encourages “the hustle” but holds it as a pedestal. How often have we heard the adage of “say yes, then figure it out as you go along”. Context is always critical in deciding the best way to move forward.

However, today I wanted to take a moment to discuss ‘The Power of No’.

This month, we have been exploring the idea of simplicity, and how it plays out in our business. Those two little letters N. O. are one of the most powerful means of simplifying. Lets explore a couple of different ways NO leads to simplicity.

The Power of Default No’s

It’s Monday morning. You’ve just come into the office. There’s a pile of emails waiting for you, and a list of three important tasks that have to be done before noon. You’ve debriefed your staff for the week, and have finally settled down into the groove of getting work done. The phone rings. Someone’s calling to enquire about you doing some work. They love you, your work, and your company, and they are absolutely insistent that they want you for their job. The problem is, this particular job is one of those jobs that you can do, but it falls outside your speciality and you don’t enjoy doing it. It would be a real chore to take it on.

How often has this scenario played out in your business life? How often have you said yes to jobs like this, only to regret it as you slog through to job completion? The Power of No in this situation is profound! The more defined and dedicated we are to our boundaries the easer it is to simplify our work life. It is so much easier to say no to these sorts of “opportunities” when we have already clearly decided what we are reserving our “yes” for. When these sorts of calls come through, it becomes very simple to pass them up, and instead, refer them on to another business that is more aligned with the client. In doing so, we create simplicity in our business instead of complexity.

The Power of Scheduled No’s

Looking at the same scenario above, there is another “No Lesson” that can be learnt. In our scenario our employer had just sat down and gotten into the flow of his morning work, when then phone rang, and he was interrupted to take the call. Once the call was taken, he would then have to get himself resettled back into the task, all of which takes time and mental energy.

Between smart phones, message notifications, email “Bings”, phone calls, and staff interruptions, it can often feel impossible to get into the flow of our work, let alone stay there. All of these little interruptions not only lower the productivity of our work day, but they also lower the quality of our work. The Power of a Scheduled No can be transformational not only in work out-put but also in the increase satisfaction of a job. It feels so good to be in the flow of the work, and then, when it’s all finished, walk away with that sense of accomplishment.

Scheduling time in your daily calendar, where you say no to all distractions is imperative to simplifying. At first your staff, or even you yourself, will be resistant to the idea that you are not available for every call and email, however, with a little self-discipline that time will become not only respected, but revered.

The Power of” Not Right Now” No

So this one isn’t strictly a no, it’s kind of like a maybe, however it is still an important no to know. As we go about our work day, we are constantly making decisions, and often we can feel as if all decisions need to be made right now. It is in this pressure cooker of decision making that we can accidentally make decisions which end up leading to complications. However, there is a magic little phrase, that I have found to be priceless in helping curb this problem. It’s very simple. Repeat after me… “I’m not making that decision right now.”

Saying no to snap decision making creates simplicity by warding of trouble before it happens. It’s preventative simplicity. This preventative simplicity gives you permission to take the time you need to choose if you want to spend your yes.

A word of warning though, it is important to make a decision eventually. Sometimes the “Not Right Now” No can be used as a way to dodge the decision all together, and that’s not healthy either. If you have used this No, make sure to make note of it, and schedule a time later in the day, or week, to come back to it and give it the attention it deserves.

Give it a go

A simple No, is one of the most useful and powerful tools to create simplicity. It is in this simplicity that we find the freedom of an uncluttered mind.

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