To get to yes, learn to say

Simon Sinak (of Begin with WHY fame) offered this advice today: “Never let the fear of seeming impolite inhibit progress.” And Seth Godin, writing synergistically with Sinak made this important point in a separate post: “Pleasing everyone with our work is impossible. It wastes the time of our best (clients) and annoys our staff. Forgive us for focusing on those we’re trying to delight.”

When we choose to focus, we are consciously moving in a different direction than everyone else, including clients. Rebecca Merrill, in her book Living in Yes shows us why learning to say no to what draws us away from our authentic life is a critical first step in learning to say yes to the opportunities there for us. I practice the art of saying no gracefully when I get phone calls from legitimate charities asking for support. Years ago I chose to focus my charitable giving on education because I am convinced that the root cause of the fear that breeds terrorism and it’s evil twin, xenophobia is lack of awareness. (My WHY). I listen until the caller takes a breath and then politely tell them that I focus my limited giving on education needs and causes. Most respect my right to say no and move on. True confession: I hang up immediately when I pick up the phone, here a click, a pause, and then the person on the other end begins the conversation with “Hello??”. Even my patience has its limits.

Have a great weekend.