Why You Should Start Saying No, Without Explanation

say no

I had come back from the grocery store and was unloading groceries from the car when my neighbor, a few doors down, called out to me “are you coming tonight?”

My response was “maybe”, but I knew I wasn’t going.

He then said, “what do you mean, maybe?” (a little surprised by my answer).

I simply replied..”maybe” and went back to unloading groceries.

This exchange was regarding their annual holiday party. I had been a couple times, but it really wasn’t for me.

I remember this distinctly because it was the first time I hadn’t explained my response to a social invitation (isn’t it interesting that we always explain the no’s, but we never explain why we can/will attend).

Obviously, there are plenty of circumstances when it’s simply common courtesy to give the host an explanation, but in this case, none was necessary (I won’t bore you with more background here, so you’ll just have to trust me that I wasn’t leaving them high & dry after having RSVPd, it wasn’t that formal).

I don’t know about you, but it’s taken me longer than I care to admit to learn the fine art of saying no.

One of my favorite sayings is “No is a complete sentence”… it doesn’t mean I’ve always followed that rule (what can I say, sometimes I’m a slow learner), but it’s still one of my favorites (maybe because it’s a reminder to myself).

I remember when I first started doing websites… I said yes to everything, even the clients that I knew were going to be a massive nightmare, because I needed the money. Especially when I had a team to pay.

Which made it that much worse because then I was putting up with nightmare clients simply to make sure other people were paid and I was left with very little.

My guess is at one time or another you’ve said yes to projects or clients you didn’t want to work with, whether it was for the money or you thought it was a good opportunity.

More often than not, it probably wasn’t worth it, right?

Yet here I am again and for some reason I find myself saying yes to things again that don’t really serve me.

Over the last 6 months or so I’ve done a lot of observation and reflection. Starting and growing a new brand (the Content Creators Planner) has been amazing, but not without frustrations and challenges (and no, we weren’t expecting it to be smooth sailing).

I initially thought, “I’m going to say yes to every opportunity that comes my way for this!” Meaning, every podcast, every connection, every opportunity to spread the word.

My only real strategy was that the audience needed to be relevant (not the best strategy).

Next thing I knew I found myself doing interviews for summits or podcasts that I was then expected to share (and I see both sides of this coin, so we’ll leave that discussion for another day), but then after the interview I’d look at the landing page or copy and instantly think “there is no way I can share this.”

I’m not emailing my audience or sharing something socially that has very little information or value to the audience (recent case in point: a summit where the landing page was literally only an opt-in and headline, no list of speakers, no value presented to the visitor, etc.).

Then I feel like crap because I’ve not done something I said I would do (this is where due diligence comes into play, right? That was my responsibility).

Lesson learned.

I’ve got some new rules for myself when it comes to saying yes or participating in things.

Every time we say yes to someone or something else for our business we’re taking time away that we could be serving our audience, creating something, marketing something, or selling something that is in complete alignment with our own business goals.

This is why I believe in content so much.

Not only are you ‘doing the work’ for your own business, but content can (and should) work for you … 24/7.

Which is why I’m hosting another live training this week:

“Content Marketing Secrets: 7 Ways to Create, Promote, & Profit with Your Content”

This Thursday, March 21st at 10:00 am PST

Register for the live training here

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