The conversation usually starts like this: "I really admire what you're doing and all your success. I have an idea and would love to pick your brain if you have some time. Maybe a cup of coffee?"
The thing is, my brain is for hire and not for picking. I've been picked and pitched for years to land clients and much of the time was wasted and ideas misused. I have learned a pretty penny about the value of time and how to spend it wisely.
So I politely say the usual writer line, "I'd love to chat and and connect but right now I'm on a really tight deadline."
Sure, we all want to help each other out. But, you have to draw the line between being a giver and being taken advantage of. Ever feel that way?
Sometimes you have say "No" in order to give yourself more "Yes" time. Otherwise all the things you want to accomplish get pushed by the wayside.
It's important that You don't get sucked into someone else's agenda. This may mean politely saying "No" to clients/customers/contacts you don't think are a great fit, friends who drain your emotional energy and projects/alliances that no longer give you satisfaction or a sense of purpose.
For me this has meant reducing my time or resigning from organizations and committees that required too many unproductive meetings or simply wanted me to write checks or find people who would, unloading clients that didn't pay on time and (lately) disconnecting from all the free self-help programs I signed up for over the last few years. I also allocate and bundle my time for networking and meetings to 1 or 2 days a week whenever possible.
Here are three signs you need to start saying "No:"
1. Your "dance card" is so tightly booked you are starting to make missteps.
2. You wake up stressed over how you are going to "get it all done."
3. You feel irritable when someone calls and suggests getting together rather than enthusiastic.
I have a few friends who always sound stressed when I call and say they are too "crazy, busy" to get together. Hey, I used to be that person! But, now, I try to keep the words"crazy" and "busy" separate. I like being busy and I enjoy doing crazy things but just not at the same time!
If you find saying "No" hard then say "Not Now." The one thing about saying "No" is that is doesn't necessarily mean "Never." Graciously declining an invitation or meeting doesn't mean you need to show lack of enthusiasm because you have limited time. Express your support and simply say, "I'd love to help/meet/connect down the road but right now I don't think I could give you the quality time your project/organization/business deserves."
"No" is not always a negative. It can be a positive when it means giving yourself time to find balance and be more productive and creative. So learn to say "Yes" to the word "No" when it make sense.
Share this thought: You have to feed yourself first even if others are starving for your attention. Say "No" to give You more "Yes" time #fearlessfabulousyou