I recently watched the Jim Carrey movie Yes, Man. Most of the movie spends time focusing on the underlying theme of how saying yes to everything can bring you incredible adventures and results. By the end the main character finally realizes that saying yes to everything isn’t always an effective method. As Tony Blair once said, It is very easy to say yes.” Easy—yes. Smart? Not so much. It’s easy to get swept along the river of endless requests and to do lists. It’s easy to go through your day just saying yes rather than making conscious, articulated choices. The thing that’s often over-looked in all our yessing is that when you say Yes to something you actually say No to something else. And the thing you’re saying No to might be really important. While it’s true for everyone on our little ole planet it’s especially true for entrepreneurs and growing businesses. It’s where it’s toughest since start-ups and growing companies want to get every client they can and have a million things to do—all while on a budget fit for less than a shoestring. As Chris Brogan outlines in this great post it can all become a blur.
Buckle Your seat Belt It’s Hard Truth Time
Saying yes too much to the wrong things will not lead you down the primrose path to a successful business. In fact, it’s one of the biggest reasons new or expanding companies fail. They Yes their way to the wrong clients. Or to a price for services that doesn't really give them the margin they need to be in the black. They Yes their way to obligations that have diminishing returns.
I mean it.
To be successful in the business world you need to say yes only to the right things. What do I mean by the“right” things?
Let's Do A Little Exercise
Take out a piece of paper and a writing utensil. Yep—right now. I’ll wait while you do it. (Jeopardy theme song playing in the background) Now that you’re ready you have 30 seconds to write down the top 3 priorities for your business/work. These are the things that help you make good on your vision for the business. Yes—only 3. Ready, Go!
To illustrate what I mean I’ll share with you the Top 3 priorities for my business…
1. Serving clients
2. Making strong connections with entrepreneurs in my area
3. Writing books and sharing thoughts on blog
That’s it. I know--it's seems so simple. Maybe you already know this. So why are you still saying Yes when you should be saying No? Do you have your Top 3 written down? In ink? Doing this it will not only allow you to get more done—it’ll allow you to get done the things that matter the most. Hint: If you're not focusing on them every day--you should be. What are you saying yes to that isn't on that list?
One more time. Just. Say. No. And then Yes. To your Top 3.