If you’ve read my book The Intentional Networker™ you may recall Chapter 5. It’s all about saying a gracious, but firm ”no thank you” to anyone or anything that keeps you from what you really want. You know what I’m talking about here: the energy-drainers, the time-suckers, the boredom-inducers, the joy-robbers, the regret-makers, the resource-wasters, the fill-in-the-blankers for anything that makes you sad, less-than, tired, crazy, or unproductive.
Saying “no” can be a powerful and novel idea; especially if up until now you’ve operated in a state of compliance, cruised along in default mode, or forged ahead without any consideration as to what you want or how you truly want to live, work, and connect with others. (For the why’s and how’s of figuring that part out, go back and reread Chapter 1).
It can be a startling epiphany to realize you often have the power to refuse who or what is not right for you. At that point you can simply back away energetically and emotionally, which is often enough. Or you can be more assertive and say “no more.” Either way, it can be scary. Maybe even terrifying. But once you do it you are free to discover what’s new, different, and often better.
That’s where the next powerful and necessary step comes in: learning what your “yes’s” are and how and when you should use them.
Yes is positive, proactive, and powerful when combined with vision and intention. It invites possibilities. How great is that?
That said, have you made clear your “no’s” so you can look forward to attracting, recognizing, welcoming, and enjoying your “yes’s”? Whether this is about something as specific as networking or something as broad as experiencing each day, give it some thought. What could a few well-considered “yes’s” do for you?
I like the phrase a “well-considered yes” for use in my life from this day forward. Saying “no” (gracefully, of course!) to what doesn’t work for me has become easier over time. What’s still difficult is saying no to “yes’s” – to a sometimes overwhelming number of things/opportunities I want to do. Your phrase, Patty, of a “well-considered yes” gives me the pause I need to sort through all the good choices and pick those that are the right ones for me for now. Thanks!
Coming from a seasoned wordsmith and writing coach your comments mean a lot to me, Jeanne. Glad “well-considered yes” rang true for you.
Great article, Patti. I still struggle with “overcommitting” myself in wanting to connect with and help everyone. Staying focused is the key to success and a constant challenge.
Amen to that, Thea!
Thank you for your book, I refer to it every time I am having the “networking blue” and things are not going as planned!
I find that when I am happy and things are going smoothly, I say no and yes at the right times, but, if I am feeling a little stressed I don’t say yes or no intentionally!
Thank you for the reminder to be thoughtful so that I can give my best self!
Great point Adeline! Thanks for sharing. Being intentional even when stressed or down takes practice.
Patti, your post (and Jeanne’s comment about the overwhelming number of wonderful things to consider as “yesses”) remind me of a wise and peace-inducing thing the brilliant Dianna Amorde said. If you’re meant to say yes to something, it’ll come by at the right time–even if it has to come around more than once.
Love this. Yes can be persistent!