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10 Everyday Things Successful Entrepreneurs Say ‘No’ To That Skyrocket Success

10 Everyday Things Successful Entrepreneurs Say ‘No’ To That Skyrocket Success

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” – Warren Buffet

This might surprise you: Successful entrepreneurs say “no” a lot. We’re taught that we should say “yes” to almost everything in our society, yet the most successful among us say “no”. Everyone from Warren Buffett, to Oprah Winfrey, and Steve Jobs reportedly say “no” to several everyday things. Most importantly, those no’s skyrocket their success.

Here are ten things successful entrepreneurs say “no” to.

1. They Say “No” To Opportunities for Opportunity’s Sake

Entrepreneurs are constantly being approached with opportunities. Business opportunities, networking opportunities, opportunities to get their products or services in front of new eyes, opportunities to take on new projects and partnerships, etc. However, successful entrepreneurs say “no” to almost all of the opportunities presented to them, because saying “yes” to an opportunity you aren’t excited by carries an “opportunity cost”. We have a limited amount of time and resources to spread around. If you’re not excited by an opportunity, it’s not an opportunity — it’s a responsibility.

“Learn to say ‘no’ to the good so you can say ‘yes’ to the best”. – John C. Maxwell

2. They Say “No” To Networking

This might come as a surprise. You’ve heard that you’re only as powerful as your network in school before. You’ve seen networking events in your community and online where you are told over and over that networking is the king of your career. So how can successful entrepreneurs say “no” to networking?

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Well, networking is superficial. When you are “networking”, you’re not doing much more than swapping business cards. When the people you’re “networking” with walk away, they hardly remember you until you follow up with them. It’s very much a “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” mentality. However, successful entrepreneurs don’t network. They build relationships.

People do business with people they know, like, and trust. Unfortunately, you don’t necessarily trust some person you met in your “network”. You trust people you have relationships with.

3. They Say “No” To People Who Don’t Energize Them

Have you ever heard the Jim Rohn quote, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”?

Well, it’s true. In fact, studies have shown that you are actually far more likely to be overweight if your best friend is overweight — even if they live hundreds of miles away. That’s why successful entrepreneurs say “no” to spending time with anybody who doesn’t inspire, challenge, or energize them. Life’s too short – and business is too important – for people who drag you down.

4. They Say “No” To Being a Workaholic

Have you ever laughed and called yourself a “workaholic”? I know I have. And it was completely accurate. I worked so much and so hard that my marriage almost shattered into pieces.

Working yourself to the bone is no way to run your business or your life. That’s why successful entrepreneurs say “no” to workaholic-ism. Most of them started off working themselves silly, and didn’t see their businesses take off until after they’d taken a step back. Why? Because self care is so important. You can’t be a workaholic and take care of yourself and your family properly at the same time.

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5. They Say “No” To Laziness

What does Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson, and Anna Wintour all have in common?

Besides being among North America’s most successful, they all work out. See, fitness provides a healthy dose of antioxidants and feel-good hormones to your brain. This increases creativity and focus. As a huge bonus, working out also helps you sleep better at night. Successful entrepreneurs are all highly creative, focused, and (of course) well rested. They understand the impact their physical health has on their mental and business health. They say “no” to laziness (most of the time).

6. They Say “No” To Unhealthy Food

Someone once said, “You are what you eat”.

However, the reality is that the quality of the energy you put in your body determines the quality of energy your body outputs. Successful entrepreneurs understand this, and nourish their bodies (and brains) with healthy whole foods instead of fast food and junk. Successful entrepreneurs say “no” to junk-food, and “yes” to diets full of healthy, whole carbohydrates, proteins, and especially healthy fats.

As Tim Ferris said, “A diet that skimps on healthy saturated fats, robs your brain of the raw materials it needs to function optimally.”

7. They Say “No” To Doing the Work

“Do the work!”

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You hear that over and over again, especially as an entrepreneur. We entrepreneurs like to maintain maximum control over our businesses, so we end up wearing many hats. But to say “yes” to being everything to your business is like saying “yes” to mediocrity. When there’s somebody else who can do a job more efficiently than you can, and who enjoys it more than you, saying “no” to that work allows you to focus on what only you can do for your business. Successful entrepreneurs say “no” to doing the work that they can outsource or delegate.

8. They Say “No” To Priorities

How many priorities do you have on your plate right now? 2? 4? 6?

It may be time to review those priorities. After all, successful entrepreneurs say “no” to priorities. They say “yes” to one priority — singular, not plural.

“The word priority came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular. It meant the very first or prior thing. It stayed singular for the next five hundred years. Only in the 1900s did we pluralize the term and start talking about priorities.” – Greg McKeown in Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Prioritizing more than one thing in your business means that you prioritize nothing. You shouldn’t have priorities. You need a priority.

9. They Say “No” To Motivation

Do you rely on motivation to get things done? Maybe you’re one of those lucky people who are always motivated. Or more likely, you get a lot done when you have a lot of energy or a new idea. However, successful entrepreneurs say “no” to relying on motivation. Instead, they build habits around the important tasks they need to get done every single day. Once you say “no” to motivation and “yes” to habits, you get important work done on autopilot. And your work never suffers from demotivation again.

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Build habits instead.

10. They Say “No” To Everything…

…Except their one focus.

Successful entrepreneurs know what they need to get done, and say no to everything else.

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.” – Steve Jobs

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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