Saying No

imgresI reached out to someone this past week for someone who thought she would be the perfect fit for a particular board.  She probably would be but she had the wherewithal to say no.  I applaud her for that.

Saying no is so much more difficult than saying yes.  Yet the problem with saying yes again and again becomes overwhelming to your time and space.  I have no doubt overextended myself time and time again.  It creeps up on you and then all of a sudden you can’t breath.  It is not a pretty place to be and it is not productive for the people you said yes to because you aren’t doing them any favors either.

Deals come into my box all week long.  I look at them all and most of the time say thank you but no.  I have been asked to participate in many events but again take a look and politely say no most of the time.  I could go on and on but now saying no feels even better than saying yes.  If I say yes, I am fully committed not quasi-committed and feeling overwhelmed.

A founder that I am invested in recently just said no to an opportunity that I thought could be worthy.  He knew it but he just couldn’t commit, he had to stay focused on the moment and that would have just been one more thing to add to his plate that he couldn’t take on.  My answer to him was “bravo” for saying no.

I wish I had learned to say no years ago.  It is a skill that needs to be learned very very early on.  For me, it has been a game changer.