I recently reached out to a friend of a friend. I wanted to pick his brain on some business ideas that I thought were very related to what he does. I was hoping for a new connection, some thoughtful conversation, and a little free advice.
When I finally reached out, he very politely said “no.” Of course, he said more than just “no,” but the bottom line was that he was strapped for time working on a new online course that was about to launch and that his wife was about to have a baby. He said he would love to help in the future—like six months down the road—but that right now, he just had to say “no” to some things.
At first, I was a little put off, even shocked. I hadn’t expected him to say no. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized there was a lot I could learn from this experience. His “no” wasn’t personal at all, and I do believe he meant it when he said he’d have that conversation in six months. But he had to choose. He had to be picky with his time, and I respect that. That’s something I try to be hyper-aware of in my life, as we all know that time is our most precious commodity.
So, I ask you: Are you saying “no” often enough?
Think about these four kinds of people in your life:.
1. Your Customers
Sometimes we over-serve. Shoot, I probably over-serve my clients every day, and they probably don’t even realize it (shame on me). But this can be a big problem and one that we all need to work on. It’s okay to get paid for what you do and to acknowledge when something is outside the scope of your contract or your capabilities. Don’t feel like every request has to be met or you’ll lose their business. Don’t leave that client hanging; suggest alternatives. Quality partners will appreciate and respect you more when you are honest about boundaries.
See also: "How" Selling Solves Your Business Problems