“If an opportunity isn’t a clear Yes, it’s a clear No.” — Chris Suarez
As leaders grow and become successful, more opportunities show up. Unfortunately, most of us say “Yes” to too many.
On a Facebook Live presentation from Portland — home to Nike and its iconic “Just Do It!” campaign — Xperience CEO Chris Suarez shared strategies for achieving contentment and growth by saying “No.”
Suarez said he was recently looking for art to decorate a new training center that Xperience is building. He was struck by the motivational values most corporate art seeks to instill: “Hustle,” “Work Harder,” “No Days Off.” The common theme? A lot of saying “Yes.”
In his bestselling book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Greg McKeown argues that we tend to overemphasize the external aspect of choices (options) and underemphasize our internal ability to choose.
When we don’t believe our efforts matter, we sink into a condition psychologists call “Learned Helplessness.” Suarez says this shows up in organizations in two ways: People either check out and stop trying. Or they become hyperactive and accept everything thrown their way.
Real estate agents are especially susceptible to the latter impulse. Instead of doing ONE Thing, they try to do a dozen.
“Choice is at the core of what it means to be an essentialist,” Suarez said. “If I ask my daughter whether she wants ice cream or cookies, she wants both. In business, we simply can’t have it all.”
Here are 5 strategies you can implement to start saying “No.”
Being an essentialist means going big on only a few vital items. If an opportunity isn’t a clear “Yes,” it’s a clear “No.”
The strongest asset we have is ourselves. If we underinvest in our minds, bodies, or spirit, we’re going to damage our best productivity tool.
We overvalue the things we already have. Continually ask yourself, “If I didn’t have this opportunity, what would I be willing to do to acquire it?”
We often say “Yes” to a person. We forget that saying “No” to an opportunity is not rejecting that person. Learn to ask questions like, “Which project should I de-prioritize?”
We sit through terrible movies because we’ve paid for the ticket. You shouldn’t treat your life and career that way. Jettison sunk costs and focus on what’s going to contribute to your contentment and growth.