The Positive Power of Saying No

Time is the most valuable asset in the world. Just ask anybody who runs a startup. No matter how many innovative ideas your brilliant mind can juggle, or how much (or little) manpower you can juggle, there are still only 24 hours in a day. That’s why prioritization is so essential. To effectively manifest an idea, or build a company, with limited time, bodies, and resources, it’s critical to say spend time on the right work. It’s important to say yes to the right projects. And to say yes, to harvest your limited resources and provide positive results, you first have to be comfortable saying no.

No is potentially the most positive word in the English language. As entrepreneurs however, we hear its negative sting constantly. No, there’s not enough time. No, there’s not enough money. No, that’s not feasible. In the face of such constant negativity and opposition, the successful entrepreneur wields an indomitable spirit and the power of positivity. “Yes!” follows every “No,” but too much “Yes!” builds stress. How many projects can you take on at once. You want to tackle every job and take on the world- that’s great! There’s still that pesky issue of time.

“I don’t even like saying ‘no,’” says Cannon Director of Operations Leslie Reed, “but ‘No’ helps me stay focused on our priorities and that’s our members and what’s important for them.”

Leslie’s ability to hone in on what’s important, saying “Yes” to what matters, makes her great at what she does. It all stems from the ability to say “No” to those daily dalliances that would stifle her productivity. It sounds facile but saying “No” to extraneous projects gives you the freedom to say “Yes!” to the right work. It just takes a practice.

All entrepreneurs have that hiding place. You know, the place you go when you need to finish that presentation deck and can’t get a moment to yourself. That’s the first great example of saying “No.” In hiding from overeager interns or the pull of the ping-pong table to complete your work, you’re providing yourself a positive platform for prioritizing essential work.

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