Want to know the most dangerous word in the world (well, in the entrepreneur’s world anyway)?
No, really – it’s “Yes”
You see, it’s the stuff that you say “Yes” to, that isn’t really what you want to do, or isn’t what will move you and your business forward, that’s what keeps you from your Joyful Genius.
There are 3 reasons we sometimes say “Yes” to what we shouldn’t:
Yield – we fail to prioritise our own interests, or those of our business (or indeed our loved ones), and so we allow others to impose theirs on us instead. When we don’t have a clear idea of what is going to create the results we desire, it is easy to be pushed by the most demanding voices.
Equivocate – similar to the above, because we don’t really stand for anything, it’s very hard for us (and others) to know where our boundaries lie. So the chances are they don’t even realise when they are taking the mickey – and nor do we!
Save – we know that we are going to do a better job than them, or we see them making a complete hash of it, and we dive in to help out. That might be driven by our feeling of superiority, or it might be because they do a great job of manipulating us with flattery (“you’re soooo good at this, you couldn’t just do it for me could you”) – whichever it is, in the end it’s our ego tripping us up.
So what can you do about it?
Simple: just say “No”
And (surprise, surprise) I also have a neat mnemonic to help you remember the elegant ways to refuse:
Negotiate – rather than a simple refusal (which often offends), see if there are other ways for them to get what they want. The first step in any negotiation is finding out what the other party really wants. It might very well not be what they are asking you to do, that may be only one way to achieve it, and quite possibly not the best way. Explore that with them.
Offer (alternatives) – either in terms of how the outcome can be achieved, or who can do it. This is where your network kicks in. If you know there are things that you are not the best person to do (whether that’s because you’re not brilliant at it, or because you just don’t like doing it), know who else in your network can do it better than you, and with joy, and suggest them as an alternative.