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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 March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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