Have you ever gone along with someone else ‘great idea’ even though your gut told you not to? Afraid of hurting their feelings, didn’t know how to decline, was afraid you might miss out?

I suspect you are not alone and most of us have done this!

As entrepreneurs we experience people saying “no” to us regularly. We tend to see failure differently to most – more apart of life’s evolution rather than an abject situation – feedback from making a start without procrastination!

Could it be that because of this, subconsciously we can also grow an all to unhealthy ‘Fear of Missing Out’ and end up saying “Yes” to too many things?

Our single most scarce commodity is our TIME – yes we can leverage others’ time but our own personal bandwidth of time and mental capacity is finite.

We must guard it with a passion.  If we do not respect it, others most certainly will not, and worse still will come to expect our time unconditionally!!!

The power to say “no” is not a natural act, it needs to be learnt and mastered to decipher what is congruent to your main objectives, (whatever they may be) and what is not.

Many people find rejection hard, let alone GIVING rejection, and yes, that is what saying “no” is.

In life it is not just what you do but also how you do it….

So how might we decline someone else’s perceived ‘opportunity’ whilst being courteous yet clear and maintaining our reputation.

These 4 clear areas will aide your clarity:

  1. Be clear, concise and honest – explain the context of what you are doing and how this opportunity and it’s merits will not fit with your current plans
  2. Be decisive – Be respectful of your time and theirs, and don’t delay on explaining your decision
  3. Be supportive – offer advice on somewhere or someone else who may have an interest
  4. Revisit – explain that the timing currently does not work and suggest revisiting the opportunity at some time in the future if it could be of interest.

To be efficient in how we say “no” and indeed what we might say “yes” to, I have found a useful framework of decision making criteria works well:

  • Does it feel right?
  • Do I connect well with the people?
  • What would I gain?
  • Is it what I want to do?

By saying “no” we remain on course for:

  1. Doing the things we want to do with our time
  2. Focusing on the things that matter to us
  3. Not compromising our true passion
  4. Not diluting ourselves or deluding others
  5. Reducing opportunity cost

Respect for ourselves is the first building block of any committed person. Respect your time and its impact and govern it wisely. It will pay you an incredible return on investment through your optimised return on time invested.