Why the heck did I agree to speak at this meeting?
Note to self: Say No Next Time!
I was driving home in my Pink Cadillac from Dothan having just finished guest speaking at a sister Mary Kay sales director’s weekly sales meeting.
It was a 2 ½ hour drive each way plus the two hour meeting which turned a simple invitation to share my success story with other Mary Kay consultants into an eight hour day away from my young children.
Being asked to speak was certainly an ego boost but the time commitment involved did nothing to further my personal goals and priorities at that time.
Maybe you can relate.
Many women, like me, are natural people pleasers. When asked to help someone out, we are naturally inclined to say yes, even when we know it may be a financial or time burden for us.
Although I haven’t been a part of the Mary Kay world for over a decade now, I still struggle with saying no to invitations to guest speak, donate money, and volunteer for worthy causes.
It’s not that I don’t ever want to help someone out or get involved in the community. I do. But there is only so much of me (or anyone for that matter) to go around.
It’s only taken me almost five decades of my life to learn that saying yes to one thing by
definition means saying no to another, perhaps more worthwhile, opportunity.
Unfortunately, time is a zero sum game. There are only so many hours in a week (168 hours to be exact) and time spent doing one thing means those hours are not available for other opportunities.
The key to deciding which invitations and opportunities to accept starts with deciding what YOUR personal priorities and goals are at this moment in your life and your business.
Then when an opportunity presents itself or you are asked to participate, you can decide if such opportunity aligns with your presents goals and priorities. If it does, then go for it with an unequivocal “Hell yeah, I’m in!” If not (or you’re not sure), then in order to stay on track towards your personal or your family’s goals and vision, you should politely decline.
Ah, easier said than done, right?
Well, I recently learned a brilliant solution to saying No gracefully from Michael Hyatt (author of the new book “Free to Focus”).
It’s called the Sandwich Method of saying no. It’s a simple Yes-No-Yes formula that looks like this:
1. Yes: When someone makes a request, you want to first affirm them and their request. 2. No: You want to give them a gentle but firm, unambiguous No to their request. 3. Yes: Finish by affirming the person asking.
Here’s an example:
“Thank you for thinking of me. You amaze me with your involvement with the community and worthy causes such as [such and such].
Unfortunately, in order to fulfill my other ongoing commitments, I must say no. [Or you may feel more comfortable phrasing it this way: 'I must decline your offer.']
Keep up the great work! You are an inspiration to many.”
Did you see the Yes-No-Yes formula involved?
If you want to really live a life that is meaningful, impactful and purposeful, you must learn to say no to lots of really good and worthwhile ideas and opportunities in order to free yourself (your time, your energy, your resources) up for the Very Best Opportunities that align with YOUR vision, goals, and priorities.
It takes courage to say no to others but you must learn to do so gracefully if you want to live your life on purpose.
After all, the world is best served when you are living your very best life on purpose.
Kristen “Still Learning to Say No” Marks
P.S. Have you ever worried about your family’s future and security and wondered what will REALLY HAPPEN when you’re not around? If so, one invitation you might want to take me up on is to download a FREE copy of my book “Wise Women Protect Their Assets” right now.