Today I wanted to talk about the importance of your Yes and your No. Especially as women, I feel like we fall into this trap of believing that we always have to say yes to people. We want to please everyone around us, especially those who are close to us, so we fall into the trap of saying yes to everything that come our way.
Your yes means something.
But what we forget so often is that our yes is important. Your yes means something. And so does your no. So many times, I have been afraid to say no to something, especially when it's a request from a client or a project that someone's pitched, but in my gut, I don't feel like it's the right thing to do. I don't really want to do this, it's not advancing my business, it's not something I'm comfortable with, but I'm so scared to say no. Which seems ridiculous. Like, if I know deep down that something isn't going to help me or if I'm going to regret taking it on once I've started, if I'm going to feel like I wasn't paid enough or if my time wasn't being used in the best way possible, why should I feel guilty about saying no to those things?
All you're doing, if you continue to say yes to things that you aren't enjoying or that you aren't not good at, that aren't the best thing for you, is making yourself unhappy, You're compromising your business goals and plan, and really not serving your client to the best of your ability. If you're working on something that you know that you aren't going to enjoy, you are not really going to put your best effort into it. It's not that you won't work hard, but you're going to be sitting there the whole time thinking, "I don't really want to be doing this. This isn't what I'm good at or this is really stressing me out."
Your yes is sacred. I've been reading Your Sacred Yes by Susie Larson and she goes over this point in so many different ways. We feel this need to please those around us and we base so much of what we do on someone else's opinions. We're afraid to say to so someone because they might not like us. And not only are we afraid to say no, but we'll actually take on tasks that we shouldn't because we want to look good. We might tell someone, "Yeah, I can help with that" just because we want them to look at us and say "Look at you, you're so helpful."
We have to learn to dig into ourselves and figure out "is this yes something that is really going to be beneficial to me?"
That's just the wrong attitude to take about anything. We have to learn to dig into ourselves and figure out "is this yes something that is really going to be beneficial to me?" Not only in a business sense, or a monetary sense, but also in the attitude we take it in. Is this going to make me feel good about myself? Is this going to help me grow as a person? Is this going to bolster my values and beliefs? Or is this going to compromise them?
If you do this thing, are people going to look at it and think, "I'm really confused because she says she believes something, but is doing something that contradicts that."
We have to get comfortable with saying no. And we're going to have to say no a whole lot more than we ever thought we would.
Have you ever been invited to do something with a group of people and you say yes as an automatic reflex? You're invited to go to a party with people you're aren't really friends with, but that you're acquainted with, and so you say yes when they invite you. And then afterwards you keep thinking, "I really don't want to do this. I don't want to take this time out of my day, make the drive, hang out with these people." Maybe you should have said no in the first place and not worry about hurting other peoples feelings. Because, really, are their feeling going to be that hurt by you saying that you can't attend?
We have to treat our yes a sacred and we have to treat our no as an option. I get asked by clients to fix things on their websites occasionally. And I could take my time, and their money, digging into the problem for hours, searching the internet, looking things up, trying things out, asking everyone I know, but I don't anymore because if I look at a problem (and I may spend a couple of minutes trying to fix it) and know that it isn't my area of expertise, I say no and try to suggest someone else that may be able to help.
If you can recommend someone who can do work that you can't either because it isn't in your skill set or because you don't have the time, you can say no and still retain a relationship.
I want to be proud of the work that I do, in the end. And yes, there are the administrative tasks that take time, and take effort, and maybe no one sees, that make a business run (and I'm not saying no to any of that because I know that I need to do it). I'm saying no to projects that I know aren't something that I can be proud of and that would benefit my client. I won't take on a project that I know I won't be able to do my best work at.
We can't be afraid to say no. And part of the way we do that, is by recognizing that our yes is so important. We don't have to say yes to everybody. We only have to say yes to the things we really want to do. I really believe that the more selective we are in our yeses, the more our businesses will grow. And that may seem counter intuitive. I mean, it seems really silly to say no to a project that would pay good money, but if you get a gut reaction of no or I don't know, there is a reason. It's because you know, deep down, that it isn't going to strengthen your business, or because it will stress you out, or will take up time that you could be spending with family or working on a passion project. So unless something is a YES let's do this because I'm excited about it, don't say yes. Don't say yes right away. Take some time to think about it. That way you won't say yes out of guilt or obligation.
You have to remember what your values are. You should never say yes to something that isn't in line with your values. You will never feel good about a decision that compromises them.
I get it, saying no is scary. As women, we don't believe that we have to power to say no. We've been trained to be helpful in all situations, and so our automatic response is to say yes. Despite the fact that we're accepting something that we don't have time, or energy, or a passion for, we still say yes because that is what is expected of us.
You do have the right to say no. You have the right to say no to anything you want (expect maybe paying taxes). Especially if you're running your own business. You can turn down any project that you want for any reason. Even if it's just because you aren't feeling it or aren't connecting with the client. Those are perfectly valid reasons for saying no. Because saying no, means that in the end thing will be better. You may have to say no to an income stream that would look really good in your bank account, but I really believe that if you say no because you have a bad feeling, that will eventually reward you. When you say no to something, it gives you the ability to say yes to something else.
How would you feel if you said yes to a project that you were on the fence about, and then when a really exciting opportunity comes along you have to say no because of your previous yes?
Sometimes it's scary to try and think about how important our yes is. But every time we say yes, we're agreeing to give away our time, our energy, our values, to complete the task agreed to. You wouldn't pay money for something you don't really care about, so why should you invest your time and energy?
In the book, Your Sacred Yes, Larson make the point that when we're always saying yes to people even when we shouldn't, it's because we value other people's opinions more than God's opinion. And here's the thing, God's opinion doesn't change. If we are His children, then we're His children forever and He loves us no matter what. He hasn't called us to be busy all the time. He hasn't called us to do everything that comes along. He's called us to follow Him, to trust Him to show us the right path and to give us the right opportunities. When we say yes to everything, we're basically telling God, "No." We're telling Him that we values other people's opinions higher than His. And that doesn't make any sense.
As you go into the rest of the week, and as you continue to build your business, remember that you have the right to say no. Your yes is sacred. It is important. You need to be saying no more than you need to be saying yes. That's they way you're going to build a life and business that follows your beliefs and values and that you can be proud of.
If you're interested in learning more about this, I highly recommend Your Sacred Yes by Susie Larson. Think though her lessons, answer her questions, talk through the discussions, and you will realize how sacred your yes really is.
*I received a copy of this book free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my review, but all of the opinion expressed are my own.