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Learn to Say No To These 5 Things To Be A Lot Closer To Success

Learn to Say No To These 5 Things To Be A Lot Closer To Success

Are you over-extending yourself to get ahead, and find that it’s actually holding you back?

Many people all over the world are making this very mistake. Right now. They’re saying “yes” to responsibilities they simply cannot take on. Why? Because they’ve mistakenly been told that this is how people succeed. By saying “yes” to absolutely everything asked of them at work, in hopes they’ll get recognition in the form of a promotion or raise.

But this won’t work, and it’ll never work. It can’t work, because the person unwilling to say “no” never has enough time to put excellence into all they do. They do it to a standard of “enough” and move on to the next task, hoping that they’ll manage to get all done in time. They won’t stand out against the work of the person willing to say “no,” because these people have the time to excel at what they’ve said yes to.

You’re probably thinking something along the lines of, “but I can’t say ‘no’ to everything, then I’ll never get noticed. I’ll probably get called lazy, and be in an even worse position!” and you’re right. You can’t say “no” to everything. You will get called lazy. You will not get much in the way of beneficial recognition. So what can you say no to?

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That’s why you’re reading this, you’re going to learn 5 things to say no to — to help you get closer to the success you’ve been dreaming of.

1. Say No to Taking on Other People’s Responsibility

You’re not there to do someone else’s workload. You’ve got your own. Even if you had the time to take on their work, and then made it an incredible piece — they’ll end up taking the responsibility for it. You’ll never get credited for it, so there’s simply no reason to do so.

On the flip side, if you were to do a poor job of it (because you’ve overextended yourself) — guess who would get blamed for it? You. The minute the boss calls on the other party to explain the mess, you’ll get thrown under the bus. Because it was you who done the work. You agreed to do it. That’s how it goes.

Of course, there are exceptions. If you have the time and it’s an emergency, help your friend out. Connections are a vital part of success, and burning every bridge on the way up is not beneficial to your career or your life. This should be a last resort though. It’s likely that they could just explain to the upper management in most cases.

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2. Say No to Burning Out

You’re of no use to anyone when you’ve worked so hard that you’re burnt. Your productivity falls through the floor, your work quality is nowhere near your usual excellence, you’re cranky, your relationships with co-workers and your family suffers — it’s just detriment after detriment. There’s no benefit to working that much. Not for anyone.

So how do you usually end up getting burnt out? By saying yes to extra work that you simply do not have time for. Your break time shouldn’t be seen as expendable time, that you can sacrifice whenever you think you can take on that extra project. Breaks are a necessity. They keep you focused, energised and ready for work.

Figure out how much you can say yes to on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Figure out how much time you’ll set aside for breaks. Say no without hesitation to any work that may interfere with you getting that allotted break time. Break time is arguably more crucial than the time you’re doing work because it’s what allows you to keep working.

3. Say No to Sacrificing Family Time (at Least Most of the Time)

Those who are successful have a found a way to balance home life and work life. They don’t sacrifice one for the other. This is vital to do because success is only possible if what you’re doing is sustainable. Sacrificing family time is not sustainable if you want to maintain a family, obviously.

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Every successful person has a support net of friends and family underneath them. It’s how they push through the hardest of times. It’s how they relax. It’s how they have a purpose beyond their work life. It also serves as a great reminder as to why you’re trying to succeed in the first place, to provide for those who supported you through it.

Never give up that net. Never burn those bridges because of work. Never burn those bridges because of ‘success.’ You’re already far more successful than you realise if you have these kinds of people around you, appreciate every moment you can get with them.

4. Say No to Unclear Expectations

There is nothing worse than committing to something without clarifying exactly when it is your duties will be fulfilled. It’s unnecessary headache, stress and honestly — it’s just downright unprofessional. Not knowing where you stand going into a project isn’t setting the right tone for your success.

When faced with taking on work that isn’t clarified, actively seek out to clarify exactly what it is, when it needs to be done by, and what it is you’re expected to do. If you can’t get honest and direct answers to these, then say no. If you feel it’s out of your skill-set, and you have no time to learn the needed skills, once clarified — say no.

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Success is not just about ensuring the work is done to a great standard, or to the right deadline. It’s also about how you present yourself. If you present yourself as the person that will actively take on projects without clarity on what it is that needs to be done, you won’t be taken seriously. You’ll just become another workhorse.

5. Say No to Becoming Someone You’re Not

If your work success is pushing you to be someone you’re not comfortable becoming — it’s not for you. Success is not worth sacrificing yourself for. There are many paths to success, but there is only one of you. You are unique. You deserve to live to your highest potential, not the highest potential of someone else’s expectations.

Sacrificing who you are to reach success is not a successful act. You’re sacrificing the unique value you bring to a situation, that’ll truly make you unique, in order to fit someone else’s expectations of what you should do for them. In fact, this is the very thing that holds many people back from success.

Do not be afraid to stand up for yourself. Do not be afraid to be the person you want to be. Only you can truly define your success for you, and no one is going to turn around and say they’re happy and successful if they had to sacrifice themselves to get there.

So there you have it, 5 things to say no to if you want to be successful. What about you, do you have anything to add to this list?

Drop them in the comments below, and don’t forget to share this article to all who’d benefit from it!

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Published on September 16, 2020

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

Today, with many companies going remote—at least until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine—technical proficiency is a vital skill for every interviewee to master. You may be asked to interview for a job on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The way you handle yourself in the online interview (your interview skills) will say much about your ability to work from home efficiently.

Does your workspace look clean or cluttered? Is the area free from noise? Is your home office well lit?

Once hired, you may be asked to organize meetings on Zoom and other platforms. Along with mastering the technology, you will have to learn to follow certain protocols.

Now is the time to get up to speed on your technical skills. Learn which interview skills are needed for the particular job for which you are applying and practice them.

Online learning sites, such as LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, offer courses for free or a nominal membership fee. If you are a DIY type, make use of training videos offered through your particular digital tools.

Additionally, demonstrating that you have these 12 interview skills will help you land your dream job.

1. Organization

When you work in a brick-and-mortar office, some of the organizing is left to others. Your direct supervisor may host a Monday morning quarterback meeting where each worker reports on the progress on their tasks.

When you work from home, much of the organizing will be left up to you. To a much greater extent than before, you will need to develop a schedule and stick to it. Some tasks may be faster to complete from your home office where you don’t have other workers competing for your attention.

Conversely, you may find that some tasks that would have gone quickly in an office seem to take forever from your home computer. Your phone may ring a lot, which can distract you, or you may have kids and a spouse who inadvertently disrupt your schedule.

To do: Set a schedule and stick to it.

To discuss during your interview: Be specific. Point to the interview skill you utilized to create a schedule for a complex work project and followed it.

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2. Flexibility

You set a schedule for the completion of your tasks, but your prospective boss gets their work done between the hours of 2:00 and 8:00 a.m. Your West Coast partners are three hours behind your East Coast partners, and one of your partners lives in England while another lives in Australia.

Feedback and collaboration (see point 3) may need to happen asynchronously. Be the flexible candidate—the person who is willing to occasionally disrupt their schedule for the greater good of the team.

For extra credit: don’t just look up time zones, look up whether they observe Daylight Savings Time.

To do: Be flexible about meeting times.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a time when you worked on a team where members lived in different time zones. Discuss your processes.

3. Collaboration

As recently as six months ago, before the pandemic raged around the world, collaboration wasn’t quite as essential as it is today. In a remote office setting, collaboration doesn’t just mean working well with others—but actually sharing documents and editing them online on time.

Several cloud-based tools, such as Google Drive, Basecamp, and Trello, enable the type of collaborative teamwork that most companies want today.

To do: Download the correct software and practice using it.

To discuss during your interview: Discuss how you worked remotely with a group. Share how you overcame certain challenges.

4. Poise

Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

When things do go awry, keeping your wits about you will demonstrate your consummate professionalism under fire. This will show your future bosses that you will be able to work well under the pressures of remote work.

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What could go wrong, you ask? You might be muted without realizing it—your Internet connection may not be robust, your headphones may blip out, your cellphone may ring, Zoom could have an outage. The list goes on and on.

To do: Make sure you have the most up-to-date versions of Skype and Zoom uploaded.

To discuss during your interview: Consider highlighting a time when a project did not go as planned. Demonstrate the interview skills that allowed you to rise to the challenge.

5. Communication

Your ability to handle online communication is one of the top critical skills you will need to thrive in today’s remote workplace. Download Slack if you haven’t already. Get used to toggling to a different form of online communication if one of your tools fails.

When it comes to the preferred format for your online interview, demonstrate proficiency by offering several different options. Give your phone number, Google Chat Hangouts name, and Skype ID.

To do: Familiarize yourself with video conference and online chat tools, such as Slack, Fleep, or Workplace by Facebook.

To discuss during your interview: Be prepared to share the online communication tools you’re using and examples of how you use each one.

6. Good Computer Hygiene

Setting up a backup system for your computer files is one of today’s crucial requirements for working in the digital age. Storing documents that can be shared by team members is also an efficient way to work together on presentations, articles, and reports—although studies show nearly one-third of employees avoid them because of the time it takes to find documents.

Be prepared in your interview to indicate your experience utilizing this technology, describing how you organize and store files using cloud-based collaboration tools. How do you keep track of links and tabs? Do you use Dropbox? Google Docs? Confluence? Others?

To do: Take inventory of the cloud-based document sharing and storage systems you know and use.

To discuss during your interview: Describe the document sharing tools and backup systems you utilize—both for personal protection and professional file sharing.

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7. Proper Meeting Etiquette

Today, presenting yourself virtually has its pros and cons. While you only have to show a professional persona from the waist up (make sure to straighten up your office space behind you), you must boost your energy to show that you’re engaged in the discussion.

Make your voice as upbeat as possible. Have your talking points at the ready and be careful not to ramble on, as long virtual meetings easily become tiresome. Use the mute and chat features to avoid interruptions.

To do: Once you know the meeting platform, make sure you have it mastered before your interview.

To discuss during your interview: Offer to share your screen to show an example of a work project— while at the same time demonstrating your prowess with video conferencing tools.

8. Respecting Feedback

In the age of working remotely, there may not be as many systems in place to obtain feedback (such as yearly performance reviews). Workers may need to ask for feedback, while managers may need to give more feedback than usual as the team adjusts to working off-site. Respecting feedback is on top of the interview skills list that you should learn.

Taking a proactive approach with giving and receiving feedback and incorporating it into your work style is a desirable quality that your employers will note.

To do: Reflect on the positive feedback you’ve received from past employers to bolster your confidence.

To discuss during your interview: Share a time when you received feedback that made you grow in the job. If you’re a manager, share a time when you gave feedback to an employee who needed to better their job performance.

9. Project Management

Staying on task with projects has evolved far past a to-do list, with electronic tools that can track time, manage team workloads, and even do the client billing. While your prospective employer may have its preferred project management program, your experience with any of the various options—whether it’s Basecamp, Teamwork, Smartsheet, or another—will be applicable.

To do: Know which project management software is likely to be used by the industry in which you’re interviewing, and familiarize yourself with its features.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a project management feature that is particularly useful in helping you excel in your work, and explain how you utilize it.

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10. Staying up to Speed

Employers expect their remote workers to be technically proficient so that technology runs smoothly and doesn’t create work disruptions. Bosses count on remote workers to know enough about their systems to manage them without relying on the help of overworked IT staff.

To do: Make sure you have a fast internet connection and have a back-up plan, such as a second computer or other tethered devices.

To discuss during your interview: Note that you are diligent about keeping your computer and software up to date.

11. Attention to Cybersecurity Issues

“Virus” is a loaded term these days. Spreading a computer virus in your company, however, will not only bring productivity to a halt, but it will also make you a pariah. While working from public places using free Wi-Fi (with uneven security provisions) has waned, in pre-pandemic times, coffee shops accounted for 62 percent of Wi-Fi security breaches.

To do: Keep antivirus software updated and don’t download software without verifying its authenticity.

To discuss during your interview: Emphasize your awareness of cybersecurity risks and your care in taking necessary safety measures.

12. Teamwork

Work relationships now mostly happen in virtual settings, yet employers value team-oriented workers.

Being a part of a team gives you a sense of connection and shared purpose. A well-honed team understands how mutual reliance makes the sum of its parts greater than when individuals act on their own, improving the end product.

To do: Take stock of your attributes as a team player and where you can cultivate skills that will enable you to work more collaboratively.

To discuss during your interview: Inquire about the company’s culture and how it encourages a sense of community despite working remotely.

Final Thoughts

Preparing for remote positions available in today’s job market will mean honing your interview skills to highlight your technical abilities as well as your adaptability. By adhering to these To-Do’s and perfecting your online interview skills and charisma, you will rise above the competition and win over any prospective employer.

More Tips to Improve Your Interview Skills

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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