No: A Difficult but Necessary Word
If you are a high achiever, chances are you are a go-to person in your office. This makes sense because you handle things quickly and correctly. The problem is that if you say yes to every project, solving every problem, or overcoming every issue, you will inevitably become involved in work that is far away from your Unique Ability and you will be allowing other people’s responsibilities to become your own.
Even more importantly, perhaps, is that saying yes to every task will cause stress and fatigue, both of which will have a negative impact on your work as a whole. This will negatively impact your performance and the journey to your personal summit.
To avoid this costly mistake, you must learn how to say a difficult but necessary word: “No.” Saying no will free you up to focus on your areas of strength, be that growing your business, giving presentations, or analyzing data. Saying no will also give you and your team the opportunity to improve as you find ways to match the right people with the right tasks.
In this way, everyone will be contributing their natural strengths, everyone will grow and improve, and everyone will win.
How do you go about saying no when you are normally the person who is always capable and willing to say yes?
Keeping your Unique Ability in mind is the first step to saying no. When asked to take something on that is outside of your core competency, be honest with the person making the request and tell him or her that you are really not best suited to this task. Be proactive and ready to suggest someone else who is best suited.
Never forget that you have earned the right to turn some things down from time to time. You are a top achiever. Your work and dedication are evident to all of those around you. You will not suddenly be seen as a slacker because you gain the courage to do what is best for you; in fact, by focusing solely on tasks that suit your strengths, your entire team will benefit and thank you for it.
Be thoughtful in your response, even asking for a little time to provide an answer. That way you won’t come off as flippant and can use the time you have requested to suggest an alternative plan.
It’s not necessary to become apologetic or express regret when you decline taking on a task. State your position without emotion so it’s clear you are not reacting from a place of stress or work overload.
Finally, always remember that you are protecting your performance and rise to the summit, not avoiding hard work. Continuing to work within your strengths benefits the business, yourself, and all of those around you.