Billionaire Richard Branson has said, “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say ‘yes’ then learn how to do it later.” He has also said, “Even if I have no idea where I’m going or how to get there, I prefer to say yes, instead of no. Opportunity favors the bold.”
Sounds like good advice, right? After all, the man has been very successful. He must know what he’s doing. Why, there are tons of memes floating around that feature his words of wisdom. You MUST be worth paying attention to if folks make memes about you!
Yet, Billionaire Warren Buffet, the third richest person on the planet in 2019, has a whole different perspective.
“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.”
My money’s on Buffet.
It’s easy to say yes. You’ll make everyone happy. Whether you accept another volunteer job, join the board, loan out your chainsaw or agree to bake cookies for another fundraiser, you’ll soon find yourself over-extended, stressed out and unable to do what’s most important.
And you know better than anyone else what’s important. You also know what success looks like in your world — how to define it and what is worth giving up in order to achieve it. Less is more and broken promises ruin relationships. Ask any people-pleaser you know.
5 Things We Must Stop Doing
We don’t need to:
- Maintain unfulfilling relationships. Relationships have life-cycles just like everything else. Some may have run their course. Appreciate what you have learned. Mourn the loss, celebrate the memories (if you can), then make new friends.
- Join every professional organization under the sun. Ask yourself, are you learning enough to justify the cost and time? Have you made constructive, long-lasting friendships? Do you get business or career opportunities from this group? And finally, have you been able to contribute in a meaningful way? If the answer to these questions is no, then maybe you’re wasting your time.
- Justify or defend. You don’t have to comment on things that were beyond your control. You don’t have to defend or justify your words or actions. You made choices based on circumstances or information you had at that point in time. Maybe you made a mistake. (Believe me, you’re not the only one who has.) Just move on and choose differently next time.
- Keep doing the same thing. Just because it’s something you’ve done for years, or decades even, doesn’t mean it’s the right path for your future. (I will spare you that over-used quote about the definition of insanity.) Some say the longer you stay with the same insurance company, the more likely it is they’ll raise your premiums. So, it’s good to re-assess. Are you paying a higher price by staying put?
- Believe everything we hear, read or see. Now, that’s a funny way to end this article, isn’t it? After all, I’d love it if you agreed with everything I’ve ever written. But smart people question, even if they do so privately. Why? Because there’s always an agenda. Our job is to figure out what motivates folks before we buy in, hook, line and sinker. We’d be wise to consider the old adage, “Follow the money.” It applies literally and figuratively too.
Sometimes it’s good to clear the decks. (My husband, the Navy guy, loves it when I use sailor talk.) Consider the value of your time, energy, money, emotional commitments and relationships you’ve formed throughout the years.
Invest your time, treasure and talents in what counts most. And don’t be afraid to say no!