I was sitting at brunch with a friend and very successful entrepreneur one Saturday morning chatting about her business. As we sat there sipping our mimosas, we were talking about how far she had come. When she arrived in Tampa/St. Petersburg she literally knew no one and immediately started attending networking events and laying the groundwork for her business.
“But how did you go from that point to where you are now?” I pressed.
“I just started saying ‘yes’ to every opportunity that came along,” she said.
I can do that, I thought later.
So from that point forward, I committed to saying yes to every opportunity that came along.
I swear it was almost overnight that I started to get offers to get involved with this and promote that. I agreed to be part of a network marketing group. Soon after I agreed to take over managing someone’s social media platform, even though I was already beyond my limit.
I was working every weekend and staying up late at night to get everything accomplished. I was burning out fast.
I finally had to come to terms with the truth – I have many talents, but network marketing is not one of them. I also had to eventually drop the client because it wasn’t lucrative enough to be worth my time.
I realized that I didn’t need to learn to say yes. What I needed to do was learn to say “no.”
Just like anyone else, I only have 24 hours in a day. The question is, how will I spend that time? Like most entrepreneurs, I have my driven, masculine side, the part of me that says, “you need to push harder, work later, go faster, stronger, and longer,” but how in the world could I ever free up space in my life for the really amazing opportunities if I was wasting my valuable time with all the BS that came along?
As entrepreneurs we love new ideas and trying out new things, but the problem is we need to focus on what we are good at and stop wasting our time with every bright, shiny object that comes along. This doesn’t mean you don’t ever go outside your comfort zone or that you don’t stretch your limits, because that’s important too. But this does mean you let go of the things that don’t fit into your core mission or that don’t utilize your strengths.
When you start looking at your strengths, identify who your ideal client is, and evaluate what you want your business and your life to look like, it becomes really clear when you need to embrace an opportunity or idea and when you need to learn to say, “no.” Chances are that for every “no,” a better opportunity will come along instead, because you’ve made room for it in your life.
Do you have trouble saying no? Have you found that saying “no” brought along better opportunities to say “yes”?