The Power of No

Last week, Dr. Oz had a physician, Dr. Sue Varma, on his show who detailed the health challenges that befall certain personality types (What does your personality reveal about your health?). For example, Type C folks often bottle up their feelings, and potentially shave years off their lives because they refuse to say no to others because they want to please them. Saying yes to people or situations that warrant a “no,” can also have an impact beyond health.

I am an unabashed optimist who believes in embracing opportunity, which usually comes from saying yes to something: a last-minute speaking engagement, guest blog post, or a chance to submit an article. The problem is that we sometimes say yes to others, when we would gain more power (personal and professional) from just saying no.

Sometimes turning down an opportunity is the best thing to do.
Sometimes turning down an opportunity is the best thing to do.

Recently, I had two opportunities, one professional and the other personal, presented to me. Let me address the work-related one, which would have allowed me to practice my professional strengths. There is no doubt that I would have enjoyed my work. I ultimately decided not to pursue the opportunity because my intuition signaled that it would interfere with other professional opportunities that may have presented themselves after committing to the engagement.  Making the decision to decline was initially a hard one, but one that I did not regret because another, better opportunity came along one week later.

I am not suggesting that you turn down opportunities, willy-nilly, that could potentially lead to great experiences.

The point of the Power of No is that when we take time to think decisions through thoroughly, peacefully, and with a sense of clarity, we sometimes realize that saying yes to something that we should really decline could interfere with better opportunities that are more beneficial for us.

That’s the Power of No.

Note: This blog post originally appeared on the first Ask The Strategist site on April 12, 2013.

About the Blogger: Kesi Stribling

Kesi Stribling, Editor, Ask The Strategist
Kesi Stribling, Editor, Ask The Strategist

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