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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
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“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 July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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