As entrepreneurs we hear "no" on a regular basis. It is almost part of the job description. To try and counteract some of that negativity, we say yes—a lot.
Being on the receiving end of a no can be brutal, but saying yes to everything is not going to make up for that. It is only going to make you more stressed out. It also makes other people value your time less. Once you say yes to someone a few times, they start to expect it.
When I first started out as an entrepreneur, I ran into this issue several times. I wanted to get involved in everything and show my willingness to learn. But at some point, I've learned, you have to put your foot down.
Once I started to really put value in my minutes, things changed. I got to do more of the things I loved while still maintaining my work relationships. I know it is easier said than done, but there are a few tips that may help.
How to say no
Be quick. Tell the person you cannot do it, and politely decline right away. That way you do not hold up anyone else’s plans.
Be honest. Explain that you have other commitments and cannot make it.
Suggest an alternative. Name another person who might be able to take your place.
Ask for a raincheck. Sometimes we really do want to do something but do not have the time right then. Make a plan for the future so you still show good faith.
It is a good idea to have criteria for what you say yes to and what you say no to. This helps decision making easier. Here are four questions to ask yourself before you decide:
1. Do I truly want to do this?
2. What do I gain out of doing this task or attending this function?
3. What has this person done for me lately?
4. What else will I do with my time if I do not do this?
Saying no typically feels awkward and definitely takes practice. Once you overcome your fear of saying no, you will realize how easy it is! Try not to substitute ways to be agreeable. Go ahead and say no to requests that do not work for you or meet your needs.
Why we say no
One of the most difficult things about saying no is getting fear of missing out. But let us really think about the benefits of saying no. As long as you do not go overboard, it is a chance for you to be more productive.
Here are five things you get by saying no:
1. Time to do whatever you have put on the back burner.
2. Power to be more in control of your life.
3. Confidence to say no more often. The first time is the hardest.
4. Safety from overextending yourself.
5. Opportunities you did not even know were out there. Since you are more available, you will find them!
The bottom line—do not be afraid to say no. You deserve the time for yourself.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors.
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