You get the invitations almost daily. To happy hours, baby showers, potluck dinners, church events, networking calls, after work socials, PTA meetings, charity soirees and the list goes on and on. You get requests to serve on committees, organizations and clubs.

What do you do next? Does “yes” come out of your mouth almost automatically and without hesitation? Do you feel a surge of anxiety because you know you should decline…but are too fearful of what the requester might think of you if you say no? Or, do you always find a mediocre excuse for why you can’t say no?

Are you addicted to “yes”? Do you have “The Disease to Please”?

If no one has told you yet, let me break it to you gently: You don’t have to say yes to every request.

In fact, IF you continue to do so, here are the consequences…

Financial struggle, health issues, collapsed relationships, never-ending exhaustion AND a life of bondage.

One of the most common things I see business owners doing that is capsizing their profits, company growth, personal growth and dismantling vital relationships with high-priority people is that they try to be everything to everyone at all times. It’s a dangerous practice that is both illogical and impossible. If you’re not careful, you’ll be sucked into a vortex of exhaustion, fatigue and — yep — poverty.

It’s a challenge to decline invitations and requests from friends, peers and acquaintances. I get it. Because I used to tremor with fear at the consequences of saying no. Of disappointing people. Will they be mad at me? Will they talk bad about me to other people? What will they think?

As a business owner, I’ve had to get really skillful and hyper-analytical about these “innocent” requests that were, in truth, not so innocent at all. They stole precious time away from the BIG ticket tasks I should have been working on to advance my business and from vital relationships I should have been fortifying.

Initially, when you learn to stop committing yourself to every opportunity, you’re going to feel like a drug addict suffering from withdrawal symptoms. There’s a sick feeling in your gut. Tremendous fear. And guilt. Those uncomfortable responses are actually your instinct mechanism kicking in, telling you that you should in fact say no!

And the fear of disappointing others? If someone can’t handle a no from you, they are most likely not someone you want in your life anyways. If someone can’t respect your “off” hours, family time and privacy, they are definitely not someone you want to associate with.

Saying NO to the right activities is the most SELFLESS choice you can make

Starting today, make the most selfless decision that you could ever make for your family, your business and your future. The ability to choose the right things to give your energy to is NOT about you. Because if you never get past your own personal hang-ups about disappointing people, you will never be able to serve the people who matter MOST, let alone share your gifts with the world.

Right now, grab your planner, smartphone or whatever you use to manage your day-to-day.

What is on your to-do list or schedule? What can be removed? Where have you overextended yourself? In what areas of your life do you feel like an ATM, always expending unnecessary energy whenever a requester pushes your buttons?

Here’s a blueprint on how to identify the high-priority activities that you should be focusing on from the low-priority tasks that you should flatout ignore. A part of learning to have ballistic energy, ample time for your highest priorities and live more powerfully is setting boundaries on what you should and should not say yes to! So, let’s get started…

Here are my 5 BEST “Boundaries For Business Owner“ tips:

  1. Being clear on your priorities makes it easier to purge your life of the non-essential. Write down your priorities for your business, finances, leisure time and family. Could this incoming request compromise any of them? Could it distract from your focus on them? If so, the answer to the request is no. Plain and simple.
  2. Eliminate 5. Find 5 things on your calendar this month that you know you don’t have to do. Cross off those 5 things and pass them on to someone else. Or, just don’t do them at all. Now that you’ve identified 5 tasks to eliminate, you have time to do the one BIG thing you really want or need to do, so go do it!
  3. Conduct a time audit. What are you giving your energy to? Who are you giving your energy to? List the main things you do every week and estimate the time they take. For example, early on in my business, I used the Hours app to discover how much time I was giving to low priority work. Through that exercise, I learned that cleaning my home takes me two hours. That’s two less hours that I would have to work on my top priority — my business. Now I have someone do that work for me (and it takes them half the time). If it’s a task (housekeeping, accounting, dog walking, etc.) that’s taking you away from your priorities or that someone else could do quicker or better, outsource it.
  4. Decisions = direction. Walk out your decision, step by step, identifying where it will lead and any potential consequences. What if I say yes to this one-hour History Museum association meeting — a disorganized affair in which we NEVER accomplish anything — vs. spending one hour on client outreach for my business — in which I’m very likely to get one or two responses? If the outcome is one you’ll regret or is inconsistent with step number one, the only answer is no. For everything you agree to do, you are simultaneously saying no to many other things, so it helps to know exactly what you’re giving up.
  5. Press pause and examine your motive for choosing. Are you choosing to say yes because that’s the easy thing to do? Because you want to impress someone rather than disappoint them? Because you think that you can do the job better than anyone, so why not? That’s a very dangerous game, keeping you locked in “control” mode and unable to ever decline a request. Look at the real merits and minuses of saying yes based on your priorities, goals and existing schedule. Then answer based on the tangible benefits of the choice. Make sure you’re not saying no because of emotional turmoil, like fear or the desire to be in control. Taking pause to really analyze the choice gives you the clarity and freedom you need to make great decisions.

Do you want to do things daily that really matter to you? Are you looking for one surefire thing that will improve your finances, your business and your life? Take small steps, starting today to free yourself from “The Disease to Please.”

When you think about it, to live a powerful life, you really only have to get good at saying these two words: yes and no. The crux is in WHAT you are saying those words in response to.

You’re positioned for greatness and you’re expected to give the world your best. But you can’t do that if you’re honoring the mediocre instead of honoring your topmost priorities.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. If it isn’t serving you, it’s sinking you! Stop being manipulated into doing things you don’t want (or need) to do and stretched so thin you can’t even see straight. Some of you are exhausted right now, crashing into bed at night feeling completely wiped, and it’s because of all of the seemingly innocuous requests you said yes to during the day.

In truth, success is not defined by the number of things you say yes to. It’s defined by the quality of the things you are saying yes to. It’s the ONE practice that WILL improve your finances, your business and your life. Learning to say NO to the ordinary things so that you can live the extraordinary life is THE ticket to empowerment.

So, starting today, say no to 5 things. If your “friends” can’t handle no, you can make new friends. You can ask for help. You can reach out to others. YOU are in control.

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