Saturday, September 28, 2013

Saying NO_Part 2

 
"Begin with the end in mind." - Stephen Covey

Yesterday I talked about the cultural constraints, facing women in particular, that hamper our ability to say "no" and make the best use of our time, talent, and treasure.

But culture alone can't explain why decision making is so difficult.  We have to also take personal responsibility for this task. 

Even the most powerful and empowered women make bad decisions. We stay in jobs and marriages for too long.  We accept lower wages and less respect for our work.  We don't LEAN IN and ask for what we want and deserve.  Again, part of this is due to cultural programming.  But there is another culprit at work too.  Namely, we don't know where we are going.

In other words, we don't have a clear vision of the END that we are trying to achieve. 

My husband reminds me that the captain's lack of clarity creates chaos for the entire crew!  How can you steer the ship if you don't know where you want to go? 

It's obvious that without the end in mind, you will not have a good rubric for making decisions.

More homework: This week, take 15 minutes to write down your definition of success.  Finish the sentences below.  Then use these "mission statements" as a guide to better decision making, including saying "no!"

"In a year from now, I will know I am a success at work because I will ..."
"In a year from now, I will know I am a success at home because I will..."

Cheers!

Jocelyn

P.S.  Thanks to Richard Perry for reminding me that beginning with the end in mind is critical for effective decision making.  In short, you can't say "yes" or "no" unless you know where you want to go!



Saying NO_ Part 1


"The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes." - Tony Blair

 
My daughter is talented.  She was recently accepted into Show Choir at her school.  And she is up for a part in her first Middle School play.
 
The problem is she can't do both, because as her teacher so gently reminds her, "Sweetheart, you can't be in two places at once."
 
Thus, for the first time in her young life she is faced with hard choices.  And she is learning to say "no."
 
You may see this as a silly example of decision making.  Choosing between two great opportunities is NOT the end of the world.  But I disagree.  I think learning to say "no" to both good opportunities and bad is one of the hardest and most underrated skills in our personal and professional lives, especially for women. 
 
For women, the culture tells us that we should try to be everything to everyone, regardless of the toll it takes on our minds, bodies, and souls.  The culture tells us not to be too finicky because "this may be as good as it gets."  The culture tells us that it is not "nice" to be "uppity," driven, and ambitious.
 
But I say, "Bull!"
 
Saying "no" is one of the most powerful things you can do in your life, precisely because it opens new doors to new realities.  It also ensures that you are designing your own future vs. letting someone else architect your life. 
 
All great leaders say "yes."  They take risks, make deals, and embrace partnerships.  But they also ruthlessly say "no" to people, opportunities, and issues that suck their time and energy and don't help them to achieve their dreams, ambitions, and goals.
 
Your homework: This week, say "no" to two things that aren't moving you forward and don't make you feel joyful, i.e. that you don't want or need to do.  Build your self-confidence muscles and stand in your own power.
 
Cheers!
 
Jocelyn