So how do you combat all thedemands on your timeand energy? Especially when it’s so easy for people to reach you at any time, no matter where you are, by phone, text, instant messaging, facetime, email, social media, or video chat?
It’s simple:you learn how to say “no.”
Knowing How to Say “No” Doesn’t Make You a Bad Person
Learning how to say “no” simply means that you care about prioritizing your time and energy, so you are able to devote it to the things that matter the most to you.
Saying “No” is Difficult
We don’t want to seem rude, selfish, or unhelpful. So we just keep saying “yes” to everything people ask of us, and pushing ourselves to honor our commitments, no matter how stressful it is. And we tell ourselves that’s just what it means to be a good person.
Saying “Yes” is Simple
When you say “yes” to everything, you end up keeping yourself stuck in situations that aren’t healthy or conducive to your personal growth. All those commitments you’ve agreed to end up devouring your time, your energy, your motivation, and your drive.
If you continue saying “yes” to everybody and everything, eventually, you’re going to burn out. And that doesn’t do you or anyone else any good!
Using “No” as a Tool for Success
When you learn how to say “no” to the things that don’t truly give you the joy you want or don’t serve your ultimategoals in life, you open yourself to the opportunity of saying “yes!” to the things that will give your life more meaning and more fulfillment.
What is really true is that not only will that make your life better, it will ultimately improve the lives of others around you as well.
I want you to think of all the things you regularly say “yes” to that take up your time and energy without making you happier or advancing your goals in any way.
Take some time today to write a list of the things you need to stop doing and make the firm commit to NOT do them anymore from this point forward.
Maybe you need to stop answering all the unsolicited emails you get. Or watching the news every day.
It can be so depressing and rarely contributes anything valuable to your life. And if anything really important happens that you really need to know about, you can trust that your friends or the people at work will tell you about it.
Maybe there are some games on your phone or your computer that are time-wasters that you need to delete. And do you really need to check every post on Facebook and Pinterest that your friends and family post?
Whatever those unproductive time-wasters are, decide to stop doing them! Once you take the time to get clear on what they are and make the commitment not to do them anymore, it’ll be easier than you think to remove them from your life.
Communicate Your Boundaries
Here is a sentence I’d like you to memorize: “It’s not against you – it’s FOR me.”
Saying “no” isn’t a rejection of the other person; it’s simply saying, “I’m sorry, I don’t want to do that because my other commitments and priorities are more important to me at this time.”
You might also want toframe your boundariesas a list of actual “policies” you maintain to be able to devote your time and energy more fully to the things that will have the greatest impact on your life.
For example, some of my personal policies are that I don’t schedule more than five talks in one month. I no longer co-author books with first-time authors; they take up way too much of my time and energy.
I don’t take any calls on Tuesdays and Thursdays, because those are my writing or product development days. I don’t lend money to anyone. And I don’t make charitable contributions over the phone. You have to send me something in the mail that I can read.
I am so clear about these personal policies that when I express them to others, they understand that my refusal to honor their request is just a policy I have and has nothing to do with them personally, and they respect my boundaries.
Say “No” to the Good and “Yes” to the Great
Start making the distinction between the projects, tasks and time commitments that are merely good. And by this I mean the things that you’re fairly skilled at, maybe you don’t mind doing them, and they yield decent results – and those things that are truly GREAT.
By truly great I mean the things you are truly awesome at, the things you love doing best, and the things that make your life really better in some real and significant way when you do them.
Then, focus your time on doing more of THOSE things that have the potential to produce really great results and less of the ones that are merely in the good category.
For example, I would say I’m a good editor. I’ve written enough books to look at someone else’s writing and be able to identify ways to make it stronger. But even though I am good at it, it doesn’t produce great results in my life.
I’m also good at writing forewords for other people’s books, but the time it takes to read their book and craft an introduction that I would be proud of takes up way too much time and doesn’t produce that much in return.
I am much better off spending my time actually writing my own books. When I do that, I am getting MY ideas out into the world.
I am reaching millions of people and making an impact that matters to me. And I am making the royalties that come from that writing.
The same is true for my speaking. Speaking to a group of 100 people is good, but speaking to a thousand people is great. I used to say “yes!” to almost anyone that wanted to hire me. Now I am much more selective.
Practice Saying “No”
What are the activities that YOU are great at, that produce more awesome results? As opposed to the ones that are merely “good.”
As the beloved originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, Jack Canfield is known for fostering the emergence of inspirational anthologies as a genre. Now, affectionately known as "America's #1 Success Coach," Jack has studied the fields of success and personal development for over 40 years. His formula for success reached global acclaim with his New York Times Bestseller, "The Success Principles", where he teaches readers how to be successful in life and achieve their goals. For more information on Jack, visit www.jackcanfield.com or follow him on Facebook , Twitter , YouTube, or Instagram. .
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