Why Saying No is Good for Business
Saying No is harder than saying Yes. Why is that?
It’s rather straightforward. There’s no immediate reward for your brain when you say No to something.
When you say Yes, your brain’s reward circuit immediately gets flooded with the hormone dopamine. It makes you feel good about the reward you get for saying Yes.
The Yes Reward
One thing about your brain is that it’s overly optimistic and you can easily find yourself saying Yes when you should be saying No.
When you say Yes, you enter into a mental contract. You agree to do something, be somewhere, and allocate your time. Some of these Yes commitments you are willing to enter into and they give you personal satisfaction.
In business, productivity and time management experts tell you that you’ve got to say No to all those distractions and intrusions from people seeking your time, knowledge and expertise. Yet, there’s a kind of satisfaction and reward of knowing that others see you as the go-to person.
You can also enter into Yes agreements with escape rewards. These make saying Yes easier because they come in the form of distractions, preferences or opportunities.
Yes, you know you should be working on your business goals and priorities, but it’s easier to say Yes to something else when you …
- are bored, challenged or stuck
- deserve a break and friends are calling you to join them
- rationalize you’re procrastinating for a greater reason
- feel other items on the to-do list need attention first
- find that bright shiny object is just what you’ve been looking for
- like being stubborn and prefer to work when you feel like it
- feel you can’t pass up on this new opportunity
Saying No Has Its Rewards
Before you were able to qualify as an adult, you probably didn’t have many options for saying No. Parents, school teachers and anyone older than you expected you to say Yes. To say otherwise was an act of disobedience and rebellion. If you fell into line and went with the program, it may explain why you have trouble saying No.
Now, as a business entrepreneur, it’s good business to say No.
Author and marketing strategist, Dorie Clark speaks about how hard it is to say no to the good things that are unrelated to your goals and priorities. Even when you try to be as efficient as possible to squeeze out more time, you still can’t do everything you want.
She recommends asking yourself these four questions before you get drawn away from what you’re intending to accomplish in your business.
- What are your top professional priorities? (How would they be impacted by these other activities?)
- What is the total commitment? (How much time and energy is this going to take?)
- What is the opportunity cost? (Does this new opportunity interfere with your goals or limit you in other ways?)
- What is the physical/emotional cost? (Will this affect your physical health and/or be an emotional strain?)
By saying No you …
- simplify your life and your business
- create a balance between business and personal time
- free yourself from unnecessary obligations
- allow yourself to get your work done without distractions and intrusions
- give yourself more time to work on the goals and priorities of your business
- and, most important of all – “It’s the only way to reach the level of focus and productivity that allows you to become great.” – Dorie Clark.
What’s something you should be saying No to in your business?
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