“The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes.” – Tony Blair
No is not always negative. It is not a bad or incorrect response. Saying no does not make you a difficult or uncooperative person. Read that again, out loud. Saying no is more honest than a false yes, it will help you develop clarity about your intentions and it really sets you free.
First, what is a false yes? The false yes is the response you make when you really want to say no. But somewhere in your head a little voice tells you, ‘You really should go to this networking group, they really need new members and you need to spend more time networking.’ Or ‘You really should take this job offer; it is a good salary, good benefits and a respected corporation.’
The problem could be that the networking group is not an exact fit for you and the job is just OK, but you are not excited about it. The truth is you do not want to stay with the networking group if it is not right for you and you will never be fully committed to a job that is just OK.
Saying no develops clarity if you acknowledge why you want to say no and what would turn the no to a yes. The above example of the networking group was my real life dilemma. The people were great, but not my target market. The attendance requirements were high, the dues were expensive and I did not think I would stick with it. I agonized. Was some type of networking better than no networking? I finally took my own advice and declined.
A month later an associate introduced me to a new networking group. This group is a terrific fit. The attendance requirement is manageable, affordable and I am working with my target market.
Saying no to the first offer, set me free to receive the right offer.
It is Ok to say No and even better when you can say No and feel at peace with it.