During our first team meeting of the year, my colleagues and I were asked to present our respective New Year’s resolutions.
Besides the fact that I never make short-lived promises, for me this requests fits in the same category of odd social questions like “what’s your favorite color?” or “what animal would you choose to be?” Trying to be a good team player, the answer I made up was something like:
“To spend more time on the things that can make a positive difference.”
My response could be interpreted in both a personal and a professional context. It was (partially) inspired by two old blogs by Seth Godin (whose musings are always to the point and spot on) about saying ‘no’ more often.
The first post, Saying ‘no’, discusses the choice of making the people with the loudest requests temporarily happy versus changing the world by saying ‘no’ more often.
The second one, On saying ‘no’, contains statements like:
- If you’re not proud of it, don’t serve it.
- If you can’t do a good job, don’t take it on.
- If it’s going to distract you from the work that truly matters, pass.
- If you don’t know why they want you to do this, ask.
- If you need to hide it from your mom, reconsider.
- If it benefits you but not the people you care about, decline.
- If you’re going along with the crowd, that’s not enough.
- If it creates a habit that costs you in the long run, don’t start.
- If it doesn’t move you forward, hesitate then walk away.
Every decision you make is an opportunity to follow your heart and take control of your life. While sometimes saying ‘no’ is a must, remember that one single ‘yes’ can outweigh all the ‘no’ ones.
- If you believe in what you’re doing, don’t hesitate.
- If something really matters, take it on.
- If it has purpose and meaning, embrace it.
- If you’re really passionate about it, follow your dreams.
- If it helps to make a positive change, always say ‘yes!’ (with an exclamation mark.)