No: A Word for Success?

For high achievers, it seems like this is something that is said too much:

“Yes, I’ll take on that project.”

“Yes, I’ll stay later.”

“Yes, I’ll take on that assignment, not see my family, and not give myself the rest I need.”

I’m being a little facetious here on the last one, but you get my point.  What I have found is that high achievers lean on the side of always saying yes and taking on more than they can chew.  It’s probably how we are wired.  We typically have a growth mindset and we have the attitude that we can get anything done if we put our mind to it.

Honestly, who says no?

However, what I have really found over the last year, is that the highest achievers say no more than they say yes.  Why is that?

I think it boils down to focus.  They are better at focusing on the right priorities.  Having too many irons in the fire causes quality to go down as a trade off for quantity of tasks done.  Having too many things going at once is going to bog down your productivity and happiness.

Can you really have too much of a good thing? 

Absolutely.  Think about vitamins.  I think we can all agree vitamins are good to take daily.  However, what if you took 1,000 vitamins just today?  Not so good and even deadly.  We can have good projects come our way but that doesn’t mean we have to say yes.

Recently, I was speaking to a CFO of another company about prioritizing projects and he put into perspective his priorities.  He had a $15 an hour worker that was mad about his commission structure.  Then the CFO also had a potential brand alliance with another company that could hugely effect his company’s growth and it’s bottom dollar.  Where do you think he focused his energy and time? 

If you said, brand alliance, then you would be right.  Some projects take higher priority than others.  I’m sure my friend, the CFO, will make things right with the $15 an hour worker, but not until the highest task is completed.

Just like the CFO, we have to prioritize the good projects that come across our plate from the great projects.  What project is going to be the most beneficial? 

Permission to Say No

Often, we need permission to do something.  Most of the time, it’s just a glass ceiling that we place for ourselves.  That’s probably a topic for another day, but I want to give you permission to say no.  Not that you need it, but hopefully that will unlock something subconsciously. 

I want to challenge you to say no more more often than you are saying yes.  Start today with saying no and do it for seven days. After seven days, take inventory of how many no’s and yeses you had.  Also take inventory of how you feel.  Take inventory of the quality of work completed. 

The benefits of saying yes, is that you will be able to prioritize your life better.  You will find the quality of your output much better.  You will be happier with the tasks you are accomplishing and you will find less stress in the endeavor because you don’t have other projects gleaming over you. 

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