Saying NO is now new normal.
When I was employed, I almost always said YES to everything I was asked to do. I thought that was the best way to prove myself. Until I noticed that it just helped others put me at their disposal.
Now that I am self-employed, I have to say NO to many requests from others. Otherwise my businesses can easily fall apart and I am going to be mentally ill. I need to focus on what matters most.
I’ve learned it from my old friend. What she does is against social norms in Japan. She is still employed but refuses to work after 6 PM. In the workplace, she is laser-focused and gets everything done by that time. She also refuses to accept friend requests from her boss on social media. She doesn’t drink at all on weekdays to stay focused. She is very good at saying NO to what bothers her.
We have so many distractions in life and at work. Without saying NO, we are always exposed to countless demands and requests from others. If we keep saying YES in a reactive way, we just put ourselves under the control of someone else. We have to say NO to say YES to what is vital to our life and business.
If you are quite uncomfortable to say NO, do small experiments. Start saying NO to small things with a big smile on your face. Or write a refusal e-mail in a cheerful way. And see how others react. You will notice that it doesn’t destroy a relationship immediately. Unless the opponent thinks of you as dispensable. How come we should continue the relationship like that?
Remember we always have a choice to say NO.