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Better Business Idea #48

The Power of "No!"

© 2001 by Michael C. Gray

April 25, 2001


"No" and "Yes" are the fundamental decision words in our language.

Life presents us with many demands and opportunities. When we say "no" to one thing, we usually create a space for us to say "yes" to something else. To take control of our time and our lives, we should probably say "no" ten times for each "yes."

For example, you may be offered an executive position that requires extensive travel. If you took the job, you would not be able to have a family life. If you value your relationships in your family, you should either renegotiate the requirements of the job or say no. No reward could justify losing your family.

Sometimes an opportunity presents itself that will be enormously time consuming but has a small payoff. It's smart time management to say "no" in this situation.

When you are first starting your career, it's natural to want to demonstrate a positive mental attitude by saying "yes" to everything your employer asks of you. This can be a mistake. You may be surrendering your life to accomplish someone else's agenda.

Instead, start by identifying your own values, mission in life and goals. This is what Steven Covey calls "beginning with the end in mind." Then find a common ground with your employer so you can both accomplish your goals. You employer should respect you more for taking this approach. If not, it may be best for you to seek another opportunity.

So be proactive and assertive. Take control of your time and your life by wisely saying "no!"

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Don't be afraid to tell your boss no. You may be saying yes to better opportunities!


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Michael Gray, CPA
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