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The Power Of Saying “No”


Have you had a strong desire to go against the flow? Have you had that feeling that you need to do the right thing which is the opposite to doing things right? Have you had a strong desire to say “No”?

Saying “No” to unimportant things, doing the right thing vs. doing things right, going against the main stream won’t make you many friends. But it surely can give you a chance of creating something new, achieving something no one did before. Prepare to be unrecognized, prepare to fail, but live the dream. Leave your mark.

Video: The Legend of 1900 (2 minutes with the punch line in the end)


Say “No” To Your Manager

Say what?! Yes, say "No"  to your manager. The deal is not about being a yes-man or a no-man. The deal is about delivering high quality results on time. If you think your manager will be pleased by hearing "Yes" every time then you are wrong, unless you work week is elastic and you plan to live at workplace or taking work home. If this is not the case then you should be saying "No" to your manager or letting her decide what other task you are on should be deferred. On other hand going beyond the normal working habits is a good opportunity to shine and show your loyalty and value to the business and the customers. Make sure it does not become a normal working habit. If it is, say "No" to your manager.

You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically, to say “no” to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger “yes” burning inside. The enemy of the “best” is often the “good.”” – Stephen R. Covey from “The Seven Habits of Highly Effctive People”

Say “No” To Your Customer

This might sound odd too, but since Customers want brands that are narrow there are times when you should be saying "No" to your customers. If you want to become a superhero you should be listening to Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles as they describe it in their book, “Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service”:

  • Decide what you want.
  • Discover what the customer wants and…
  • … deliver plus one.

If the customer wants you to do things you decided to not do then say "No" to your customer.

Smile and say NO until your tongue bleeds.

NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. ….

May be tomorrow. You will be amazed how the terms of your deals will improve when you learn to say NO. There were one hundred bank failures in the United States in 1986. How many do you think were caused because the banker said NO to too many terrific loans?”Harvey Mackay

Say “No” To Your Family and Yourself

This one is tough for me since it hurts one of the 4 Dimensions Of Personal Power – Spiritual one, it hurts my values. But here is the the flip side of the story. If I won’t set boundaries with my family, if I won’t set boundaries to myself chances are I will be out of time for self improvement and growth, chances are I will be feeling frustration which will surely have negative impact on beloved ones. And this is exactly what I want to avoid. Say "Yes" to your family by default, always, but when the time comes to invest in yourself – say "No" to your family. Plan your time wisely to spend more time with your beloved ones but do not forget to allocate time budget for yourself otherwise how would your grow or innovate?

"Wait wait – put your hands down. Listen: I know you have a thousand ideas for all the cool features iTunes *could* have. So do we. But we don’t want a thousand features. That would be ugly. Innovation is not about saying yes to everything. It’s about saying NO to all but the most crucial features."Steve Jobs

    Self Test

    • Are you overwhelmed with work but your performance is actually average?
    • Do you possess expertise in some area but bound to do unrelated work?
    • Do you have a recreation habit to fill your emotional, physical, and intellectual reservoirs?
    26 September 2008


    • Marelisa said:

      Hi Alik: We both wrote about the art of saying “no” today :-) It’s very true that we need to learn when to say “no” for our own good and for the good of those around us. And I loved that YouTube video: “f**k the regulations”.

    • alik levin (author) said:

      Good to hear you liked the post – it is interesting indeed we wrote about the same topic…

      My hope that the post won’t be interepreted as “Just say NO”, rather “Say No to less important things, focus on what’s important the most”


    • J.D. Meier said:

      I learned to stop saying no, and shift to conditional yes’s. (if this, then yes I’ll do that …) It helps me keep options open and forces me to prioritize and create thoughtful criteria.

    • alik levin (author) said:

      I think it is very good shift. It helps the other party understand you better and offer you better choice next time.

      Build bridges vs burn it. Thanks, JD – you are great source of insight!

      I am shifting you conditional Yes’s ;)!

    • What Accomplished People Can Teach You About Work-Life Balance — Practice This said:

      [...] Get disciplined – get The Power Of Saying “No”  [...]

    • Powerful Consulting - #1 — Practice This said:

      [...] The Power Of Saying “No” [...]

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