Nov 18, 2012

Keep calm and say NO!

I was doing my morning run when that email came. It says that someone on the other part of the globe has learned about my company, Wangsa Jelita, and is very excited about our works that he invites me to participate in a program for entrepreneurs which he initiated. About 20 entrepreneurs from around the world will be gathered for few weeks to learn and increase their capacity in running their business from some big names (like seriously) who have been there done that.

Utterly excited, I grinned and immediately forwarded that email to my best friend, who's also an entrepreneur, and asked if he'd like to join me. It would be cool I thought. Soon he replied,
I'm afraid I don't have time ... Nobody has that time... Speaking of which ... how do you manage the business and the internal development of your business as what you had asked me before. Are you spending too much time on awards and such to manage and grow your business?

And there I was stung.


I've learned that most of the times, distraction subtly comes as something pretty. I'm not talking about simple distractions that can be dealt with in no time like trivial phone calls/whatsapps/bbms (I usually just ignore them, I have developed a good control of myself about that one, I think). I'm talking about something more complex like when we somehow cannot find enough time to do things that actually need to be done because we are happily busy doing something else. Something else that we enjoy yet apparently has nothing to do with our main goals. And as an entrepreneur, my main goal is, of course, to develop and expand my business.

I had a nice discussion the other day with my girl friends about this and I've promised myself that whenever people hand me something on a plate, I'll recall these three questions.

1. Is it going to improve my personal capacity?
2. Is it going to support my business?
3. Do I have time to do it without neglecting my main responsibility, particularly as the leader of my company?

And if I cannot answer "YES" even just to one of those, then "NO" is going to be my answer.

I've been learning to do this and turning down many offers in the past couple of months. Some were just hard to be done (because it looked extremely fascinating) but looking back, I can say I'm glad that I did. Some even took my "NO" answer personally and got offended, what can I say? We can never please everyone and we should never aim that, I think.

I know it's easier said than done, but I believe that saying "NO" to things or people because we want to focus on achieving our main goal is only fair. I'm not going to let myself saying "YES" to everything - taking all the options offered, then see frustration and angst ensue, because I cannot achieve what I truly aim. I don't want that for sure. In fact, I've come to see that the more "NO"s I say, the more things I accomplish and the closer I get to what really matters.

The question usually rises later is how to cope with people who don't take "NO" as an answer? Well I always remind myself of something that Dr. Seuss said,

"Say what you mean and act how you feel, because those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter".

Now if you think you can relate to what I've been writing about, you know what to do.

P.S. I can never thank my surroundings enough for teaching me this important lesson. And above all, I can never thank the Almighty enough for blessing me with them.