The Power of Saying “No”

If you grew up in the 80’s like me then you probably heard the expression “Just Say No” that was popularized by then-First Lady Nancy Reagan.

Rumor has it that this saying became famous when a school-age child asked her what to do if she was offered drugs.

Good ole Nancy simply told the girl to “Just say no.”

This simple three-word phrase somehow managed to become the slogan for a national drug awareness campaign and an assortment of anti-drug clubs and organizations at schools, but it’s one of the hardest things to say to others when we’re asked to do something that we don’t want to do.

We’re all guilty of it. You probably know what I’m talking about …

Guilt by Over-Committal

We tell our next-door neighbor that it’s “no problem at all!” to doggy-sit for Fido while they go out of town for a week, even though Fido is a royal pain in the ass.

We go to Uncle Jim’s house every single year for Thanksgiving dinner even though we don’t want to drive three hours for turkey simply because we don’t dare upset any family members.

Some even agree to work overtime on a Friday night – with dinner reservations already in place – just because our supervisor asked us.

It shouldn’t be this difficult to tell people NO, but for a lot of people, it is.

Take Back YOUR Rights

You’re not a robot, and you should have the right to choose how you live your life.

I don’t know about you but I’d rather not waste my time doing things that I don’t receive any benefit from.

As you probably know, businesses are in business for one reason: to earn a profit.

We’ve all heard of Apple computers, right? Their CEO is a man named Steve Jobs. Steve is probably a gazillionaire at this point, and I’m willing to bet he isn’t spending his valuable time running Apple just for the fun of it. Sure, those iPhones are pretty cool (I have one myself!) but they’re on the market so Apple can make money.

The Success Mindset

There’s one thing that business owners do – the successful ones, anyway – when presented with an idea or possibility for their company. They ask themselves “What’s in it for me? What value will be gained from this?”

If a project or an idea seems worthwhile and profit-generating, it’s probably a good idea to proceed. (That’s why I highly recommend using this decision making chart)

The Power of Delegation and Outsourcing

Now getting back to the Steve Jobs example… Even though he runs Apple, he’s not in the factory putting together the computers and iPhones. He has other people doing the work for him.

Most of us should learn to follow in Steve’s footsteps. Of course that’s easier said than done, but it is possible.

When we’re asked to do something – anything – we need to think to ourselves, “Do I really want to do this?” If we want to do it (whatever “it” is) then that’s fine. Go ahead and take the plunge. If we simply don’t want to, we need to learn how to say no without feeling guilty.

I’m not a robot, and neither are you. It’s ok to tell someone no. We can’t do it all.

Outsourcing” is a term that’s gained a lot of negativity over the years, as people lose their jobs and complain the position was outsourced to another country. The word has an unfair stigma attached to it for that reason. Outsourcing doesn’t necessarily mean someone at a desk around the world now does your job. In fact there are number of benefits you can personally gain by outsourcing or delegating the things you simply don’t like to do.

It’s Not Rude, It’s YOUR Life

We don’t have to be rude when we tell someone “No.” In a way, we can outsource the tasks that we don’t want to do, sorta like Steve Jobs.

If we’re approached to doggy-sit for Fido, why not say “No, I’m sorry, I can’t, but I do have a business card for a great doggy daycare!” This is a humorous example, but it’s true. It’s ok to pass tasks on to others.

Again, saying no is easier said than done, but it’s really not that bad. Someone might get ticked off for a little while, but believe me, they’ll get over it!

Your time is too valuable: don’t waste it doing things that you don’t want to do.

Take Action. Get Results.

11 thoughts on “The Power of Saying “No””

  1. Hey Ralph… I kind of a different mindset. The way I look at is some people like doing work and don’t have the entrepreneur attitude. They like the idea of a 9 to 5 job and don’t mind having work given to them. As long as you’re paying a fair rate, I think it’s a good thing that you’re providing work for others.

    Also, I don’t mind helping out any outsourcer if they’re interested in building an online business. In the past, I helped one woman start a small online business where she marketed her Virtual Assistant services.

    I do agree that it’s tad self-indulgent, but I honestly believe that we all only have one life to live, so we shouldn’t spending it doing the things we hate.

  2. Great point Steve. I always say, “A no never killed anyone”. Learning to practice saying no not only improved myself esteem, it gained the respect of the ones I told no to. So to anyone reading this the power of NO is greater than the power of a weakening , ‘ok’ .

  3. Definitely agree here. Unfortunately now feel like a little bit of hypocrite here. Just spent a whole day helping a friend move her apartment. I didn’t want to do it, but did so anyway because I knew nobody else was helping here. So I guess even when you don’t want to say yes, you do so anyway.

  4. The example of helping your friend is a different type of ‘yes or no’. It wasn’t business, it was the right thing to do 🙂

    Just think of it this way…the more you delegate, outsource and say no; the more time you have to help loved ones and do great things for yourself or your family and friends! (As well as operating a more profitable business without limit).

    • Yes, you do have to make exceptions when it comes to those you care about.

      I believe 100% with that fact that when you outsource/delegate the minor stuff, you’re more able to spend time with the people in your lives. Right now, I’m doing my best to outsource almost very major area of my life.
      .-= Steve Scott´s last blog ..Does The Law of Attraction Really Work? =-.

    • Glad you liked it. The ability to NOT do something can be pretty powerful, sometimes all it takes is that little powerful word. It is not an easy one, but sometimes it is important.

  5. I do find the “no” thing hard. Unlike Ralph, I no longer feel self-indulgent for outsourcing tasks. I know I work really hard (too hard, so I’m trying to cut down) and I don’t have time to do everything. On top of that, some of the things I dislike I’m also not very good at. Why not pay someone who’s better than I am, and focus my effort on my strengths and the things that are important to me?

    • I am at the point now where if I didn’t outsource I wouldn’t get close to completing all my “tasks”. Certainly (if possible) outsourcing routine and mundane tasks that you dislike and those things that others can do quicker and better is something that most people should at least look into.

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