Inspiring Workplaces: Saying "No" to Focus on the Things That Matter

Published: Wed, 01/10/24

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Inspiring Workplaces 
The Way Work Ought to Be!
ISSUE 1,003 - Jan. 10, 2024
    The Power of Saying "No" to Focus on What Really Matters

A lot of people come up with an inspiring word they will use as their theme for the coming year. It's their mantra; their rallying cry to focus on one key behavior. But what if one of the most helpful words for you this year is not a word you typically think of as being positive? Yes, according to a Fast Company article by Brennan Nevada Johnson, using the word "no" more often can give you more confidence, control, and balance in your life.  

As I've written in this newsletter oh-so-many-times, we all need to learn to say 'no' more often so we have the time and energy to say 'yes' to the things that truly matter. If you don't learn to say 'no' when you need to you simply won't be able to focus on your priorities with the full commitment they require. Saying 'no' more often helps you gain a greater sense of control over your life, maintain your health and sanity, and it will help you from burning out.

It's not always easy to say 'no,' after all, no one wants to disappoint anyone. In a study by the New York Institute of Technology, 77% of participants accepted an invitation to something they really didn't want to attend because they were afraid of what would happen if they declined.

Now this doesn't mean being a jerk about it. Responding to an email request with only a "NO!" likely won't win over many people, especially your boss. Instead, consider the following: 

1. Be respectful and forthright. People will (hopefully) appreciate your honesty and the fact that you're not wasting anyone's time. Remember, you're not doing anyone any favors if you say 'yes' to something you know you can't commit to completely.

2. Offer a short explanation if you feel it's warranted, but don't feel you need to apologize.

3. Know what your priorities are and where your boundaries lie, so you are proactively prepared to say 'no' when needed to focus on the things that really matter.

4. If you can, offer alternative options so you are still supporting the requester in some way.

5. Say 'no', but then offer them a mini-marshmallow. (This will temporarily distract them from hearing your 'no' and likely make them smile by reminding them of just how adorable you are.)

    Mike's Fun at Work Tip
Another meeting icebreaker question for you: What's a question people used to ask you when you were growing up that you wish they would keep asking you?
    Quote of the Week

 "May all your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions."
  Joey Adams
    Funny Business
As seen on a Dairy Queen sign:

Ruining Your New Year's Resolutions Since 1962

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