“I’ve got to learn to say “no” more!” I hear this frequently from women. The topic came up again recently at my mentoring circle. The desire to please, a nurturing instinct, a feeling of guilt – all drive us to say “yes” more often than we would like.
In 2018 I propose we turn this conundrum upside down. Instead of learning to say “no”, let’s consider what will get our “yes”. It feels more comfortable looking at it from a positive perspective.
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself the next time you’re asked to attend a meeting, do volunteer work on Saturday morning, cancel your vacation or head up that project.
(1) Will saying “yes” make a long- term difference in your life or career?
(2) Is this the only opportunity that you’ll have?
Be careful here…there are many “once in a lifetime opportunities” that come around each year.
(3) Is this important to your personal priorities?
This of course requires that you be crystal clear on those priorities.
(4) Is it something only you can do?
Others can bake cookies for the school bake sale but you may be the expert in a technical aspect of your project.
(5) Is it something that you know is good for you, but you keep putting off?
Some common categories here are exercise, professional development, building that professional network of advocates.
If the answer to one or more of these is “yes” then consider giving your time and effort to the inquiry at hand.