As entrepreneurs, we somehow always seem to have a lot going in our lives, both in business and personal. Admittedly, it can sometimes be overwhelming and can tend to overload us at times. Appointments and meaningful dates such as anniversaries and birthdays may be overlooked. Promises and commitments might be broken. All of this can affect both our business and personal lives, and often in a negative manner
In our attempts to “Do it all” and to be “All things to everyone”, we run out of the one thing we can’t create more of – time. When you think about it, you can often go out and make more money but once the time is lost, it is lost forever. Keep that in mind the next time you over commit!
As successful business people, we got where we are by being “movers and shakers” and by being people of action. We want to do as many deals as we can and yet have it all in our personal lives. Along with that, many of us feel a great responsibility to “give back” to family, friends, and community.
So, the BIG question is, “When is it OK to say “No”? Here are a few times that you should say “No”.
• When you are feeling stressed to the max.
• When you are totally overwhelmed.
• When you already have way too much on your plate.
• When you are in the middle of a time-sensitive deal that requires most or all of your attention and commitment.
• When you are feeling exhausted or ill.
• When the situation makes you uncomfortable.
• When someone else is better suited for the job/request.
And the list goes on…
Remember, you always have the right to say “No”, under the following circumstances:
• If it will take you away from your Core Values.
• If it will impact your personal or business life in a negative way.
• If it will take you away from key projects and commitments.
• When it is someone else’s issue.
• When you are repeatedly being taken advantage of.
• When it is something you just don’t want to do.
Most of us feel guilty when we tell someone “No.” Unfortunately, the people that ask us to do something for them most often are persistent and are experts in getting their way. They also are experienced in making us feel guilty along the way. Then we stutter and stammer in trying to refuse a request, but often end up doing it anyway. We often feel we have to justify our refusal.
Most of us grew up believing that we should try to help those in need, especially those closest to us, who by the way, can be our biggest offenders. Just remember that even Bill and Melinda Gates, with their untold billions of dollars, can’t help everyone. Even the Gates’ don’t have enough money; and more importantly, enough time, to lend a hand to everyone they would like to help, although, with their various foundations, they do a pretty good job of trying!
So what does one do?
First of all, one needs to evaluate their goals and have a solid idea of the direction they are going, both personally and professionally. After this step, one needs to prioritize their goals and decide on the actions that will get them to where they want to go.
Once you have your goals and priorities solidly determined, then you have to understand that you have to take care of YOU first and foremost. This may sound selfish, but think about; what if something happened to you? Would you still be able to help out those other folks? It’s a basic principle of survival. Convincing yourself of this, however, normally takes time and determination. Having a good mentor in your corner is a great thing to have when times are challenging. Understand that you can’t make everyone happy all of the time. Don’t even try.
Finally, determine some techniques for saying “No” to those whose requests you can’t accommodate or their needs fall into the “When it’s ok to say “No” category.
- Just Say No. A simple, “No, but I appreciate you thinking of me.” It’s straightforward and to the point, but one of the hardest methods for many to do.
- You Have Another Obligation. Just let the person requesting your help that you have another obligation. Be honest.
- Delay When You Are Unsure. If you aren’t sure and need time to think about it, then ask if you can wait until you check your calendar or solve a current situation in order to get back to them. Give yourself ample time to think about it. If you decide you might be able to help, let them know that you can’t possibly do it right now but might have time in a week/month, etc. Be sure to keep your priorities in mind.
- Show Them How. Mention that you don’t have time to do it, but at a future date, you will take the time to show them how to do it themselves.
Some final thoughts: Practice makes perfect but, remember, this mindset and process take time to adopt. Learn to manage not feeling guilty. Be diplomatic but firm. Tell the truth. Always keep your best interests in mind.
Finally, commit to taking control over your life! Ask trusted associates or a business coach to help you with the process!
Here is to your success!
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