“Learn to say ‘no’ to the good so you can say ‘yes’ to the best.” — John C. Maxwell
It wasn’t like flipping a switch, but pretty damn close. The game changers for me were two answers: “I can’t” and “No”.
I was working at a company managing, among other things, their inventory. This was a pretty small company so almost everyone was wearing more than one hat. I was wearing something like 8.
The reason was that I could manage it, unfortunately in accordance with the Peter principle, I got promoted to the level of my incompetence. Well, at least my level of ability to handle different roles.
One day I finally said: “Look, I’ve got this, this, and this on my table. I can’t do it. I just can’t manage to do the jobs (emphasis on the “s”) you’re asking me to do. I want to do it, I just can’t.”
I didn’t realize how powerful that statement was at first. So, the company hired someone to work half time which enabled me to do my work efficiently.
However, the tasks and roles began to build up again. So, I said no. Again.
After a while I stopped doing certain tasks. Curiously enough, nobody noticed.
So, I went to my boss and told him what tasks were completely unnecessary. While he wasn’t happy that I’d ignored orders, it earned me a reputation of knowing what I was talking about as well as someone who got things done.
Usually, people will tell you that to make a good impression you better say “Yes!” and “I’m on it!”
While I can’t tell you that there aren’t repercussions, choosing when to say “Yes!” and “No”, “I’m on it!” or “I can’t” is vital if you’re going to stay healthy and live the life you want.
While this evolved over time, I’d say about 3–6 months, the single best thing to come out of it was that it enabled me to start my day off the way I wanted to.
It meant that I stopped reading my e-mail the first thing I did, I didn’t watch or listen to the news, the first thing I did was something that filled me up and started my day with a focus on me and what I want out of life.
It could be something as stupid and simple as eating breakfast with my girlfriend and watching an episode of Pokémon, or it could be writing, listening to good music, perhaps even playing videogames for a while.
The thing is that most of the time we’re so focused on delivering on what’s expected of us that we don’t push for the things we want.
We’ve got this false sense that we’re under someone else’s thumb and don’t have a right to express our wills, wants, and needs.
Now, this doesn’t mean you get to dictate everything. You also need to take into consideration the wills, wants, and needs of others.
But there can be a mutually beneficial middle ground.
Other people’s needs aren’t above or below yours. They’re equal to.
Once you make that shift, you’ll start to operate on a different level.
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Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!