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?
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.
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.
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.
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!