Authentically Answering With "No"

Let’s talk about decision making. 

What’s your process for arriving at a decision?  Is it fast?  Or slow? Based on logic? Or feeling? Are you confident about the decisions you make? Or find yourself later second guessing them?

We each have a process but is yours working for you? 

Last year in my business, my approach was saying yes to everything.  I was entering into new territory, so meeting the people, going to the events, taking the classes, joining the groups and reading the books were all part of my plan.  It was the first step in a larger filtration system through which the absolute best connections and resources would reveal themselves.  And there was no other way to get started than jump off the cliff, so that’s want I did!  This open and accepting mindset put me in front of really great people, resulting in some very key clients organically finding their way on my client list.  But it also resulted in some time wasters and scenarios that totally missed the mark. 

Well, that year ended and with 2018 beginning, stage two is underway:  Confidently and strategically saying NO. 

This is a powerful little word and one I find clients drastically underuse.  Saying it sets a boundary.  Saying it supports your goals.  Not saying it invites distraction and derailing.  So, how do we recognize the areas where we could stand turning up the volume?  Here are a few simple steps to help:

Step 1 - Create some space! Healthy margin is necessary for thinking, planning and actually getting in tune with what’s happening in your mind.  If you’re constantly on the go and in action, you’re operating mostly from a reactive, check it off the list approach.  What can result is massive activity in the wrong direction.  The Pareto principle says 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort.  When you boil it down, there might be only five main responsibilities you need to execute that will bring about stellar results, but it’s the 25 other items that keep you running in circles.  Stop the madness!  I dare you to not touch the 25 other items for an afternoon and get a massage, go for a walk or sit with a cup of coffee giving your brain some rest.  You’re going to initially resist it, but this regular practice allows your brain to focus inward and invite in clarity. 

Step 2 – Look at both options.  Do the items you say “yes” to bring you peace or stress?  If peace, it’s an indication you’re making the right choice for you.  If stress, then ask “Is this healthy stress that’s impacting me in a direction I want to grow?  Or is this unhealthy stress that needs to be lessened or eliminated?”

Step 3 – Listen to your gut.  The stress we feel is our body’s way of giving us feedback.  The subconscious part of our brain is where decisions are made.  Unfortunately, it’s also the place where we think in pictures and emotions, not words.  That’s why it’s sometimes hard to articulate feelings.  If your gut isn’t answering with an overwhelming YES, then it’s a clue that something’s not a good fit.  It might be in direct opposition to a core value or need.  Maybe you’re living someone else’s best vision for you, but not your own.  There are million different things, but analyze what’s coming up through some great questioning.  Where is this coming from?  What would make it go away?  Is there a better option?  Be ok with looking at other possibilities.  You don’t have to act on them all, but great solutions can arise from this creative activity. 

Step 4 – Voice the decision.  Once arriving at a decision, taking authentic action on that “no” might require some courage.  But keep in mind, there can be a wonderfully positive and respectful tone when stating an opportunity isn’t working or doesn’t fit into your current strategic goals.  The result becomes improved confidence levels and new boundaries that make future encounters easier to navigate.  As well as a schedule filled with a majority of things you enjoy and look forward to doing!

If there is any piece of this you’re having difficulty discovering on your own?  Reach out, I’d be happy to help!

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