Do you remember your best, “Aha!” moments in life? One of mine came while watching the Oprah Winfrey Show a few years back. I will never forget this, she said, (and I’m paraphrasing here) “When you say no to others, you are saying yes to yourself.” I’m a bit of an overachiever in life, and I’m completely guilty of biting off more than I can chew, but I’ve come to realize that success isn’t what you do, it’s what you don’t do. I’ve learned that it’s OKAY to say no. Especially if you have specific career or life goals. It can be difficult to make progress when your time and energy is pulled in a lot of different directions.
Unfortunately, you can’t start saying no to everything. It’s important to make sure you are saying no to the right things that will give you back time and energy to focus on your goals, whether that be growing your salon business, going back to school, or simply living a happier life with a little less stress. Lucky for you, I’ve narrowed down three important things you need to start saying no to.
#1: Say No to Actives/Events/Tasks That Drain Your Energy
The first you need to say no to are any activities, events or tasks that DRAIN your energy. There are a lot of great things you can be a part of, but if it drains your energy to be there, then you are hurting the people you aren’t giving 100 percent to. Also, you’re hurting yourself by not spending that energy on things that could really use your attention.
For example, maybe you are a part of a local professional organization or chapter. You joined a few years back to network and learn, but you really aren’t getting anything out of it anymore. Maybe the meetings are farther away than you would like, or maybe they run too long, but you have been involved for so long you feel super guilty leaving. I’m here to tell you – it’s okay to walk away, it might involve a difficult conversation, but if it will take a little stress off you and give you back some time to focus on your business or personal life – start saying no.
#2: Say No to Actives/Events/Tasks That Aren’t Important to You
It doesn’t make you a bad person if you don’t want to donate to every charity you come across, or even if you don’t want to volunteer at your church’s bake sale. We all cannot be a part of every single charity organization that’s out there. Even if you could, your time, money, and effort wouldn’t be as impactful as it would be if you put all your effort into one thing that was very important to you. I give you permission to say no to book club and spend your time listening to business podcasts that will help your salon grow or book another client to fill that time.
#3 Say No to Actives/Events/Tasks That You Won’t Be 100% Present
I talked about this earlier, but if you aren’t giving it your all when you participate in an event, you’re not helping anyone out. You need to show up to what’s important to you or find a way to make those activities or tasks more enjoyable, so you do give it 100 percent. Say you find it hard to focus on bills and answering emails when you are at the office, because of this you procrastinate on the task. Then, when you are forced to do it, you dread it even more. Now you can’t avoid paying your bills, but you could take a day to go work at a coffee shop or library. That way it shakes up your routine, gets you in a new place, and makes you more excited to take on the task. The key is to be mindful of what and how you choose to spend your time.
How to Start Saying No
Of course, all of this is easier said than done – but it’s not impossible. So here is how I’m going to help you learn to say no to those three things.
First, look back at the last six months of your calendar and make a list of any activity, event or task you had to do that was draining to your energy and took away time to focus on your goals and dreams. This could be something as futile as doing laundry. I know that sounds crazy, everyone must do laundry – but do you really?
I’ve talked with a lot of business owners about farming tasks out. If there is a task that drains you, that’s taking up time you could be using to write your first book or take on an extra client—it’s worth asking if it’s possible to not do it. For me, it was worth paying someone $10 or $15 to do my laundry so that I could go to the salon and earn an extra $40/hour – I’m still coming out on top. This is just an example, but if you really evaluate where you spend your time, you’d be surprised how you can rearrange your life to make room for things that will help you reach your goals.
Once you’ve decided what you are going to give up, you need to stick to your decision. Even if that means you are going to have to have some uncomfortable conversions – it will be worth it.
Next, hone in on your goals! You will have more time and energy – so don’t waste it. And don’t refill your time with things that don’t matter. As humans, we tend to fill up our time as soon as we have it. Be picky with things you choose to do with your time. Remember, when you say no to others, you are saying yes to yourself.
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