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No is the new Yes!

Best HR practice: Picture having the handwritten words saying: " No is the new yes"

Over the last few years I have heard of the phrase “Say yes to everything!” so many times. There was even a movie with Jim Carrey called the Yes Man.

Taking this Yes Man approach, when I started my HR practice, I was saying “yes” to every opportunity that was coming my way. At the time, I thought it was great, as I was getting lots of work and keeping busy, (isn’t that what a new business should strive for?) however I had to take a step back. I had to think whether saying “yes” all the time, was in fact good for me and my HR practice.

Have you ever had that feeling when you have said “yes” to a client and then moments later, you have begun to regret it? That happened to me a few times, and this is what led me to question every time is said the three letters – YES.

This is what I learnt. Every time I said “yes” to something I was saying “no” to something else. Often, what we are saying “no” to is more important than those things that we are saying “yes” to.

Here are a few questions to get you thinking about what you want to say “yes” to:

  1. What’s most important to you in regard to your personal relationships?
  2. What’s most important to you in regard to your health?
  3. What’s most important to you in regard to your career or business?
  4. What’s most important to you in terms of your finances?
  5. How do you want to spend your time?

Before you say “yes”, think about your answer and whether it moves you closer to the things that are important to you.

Saying “no” is not always easy. If you find this difficult to do, try and offer a compromise. Ask if there is flexibility or room to move, ask if there are other ways that you can assist them, ask if you can offer them an alternative solution.

Other tips that may help, is to get all the information before you say “yes”. Make sure you understand what is expected of you. Don’t feel uncomfortable asking for more information if you need it to help you make a decision.

To be honest, even taking all of the above into consideration, I still found it hard to say no. The only thing that helped me, was not to make a decision on the spot. I always felt like I had to give an answer as soon as I was asked a question. (isn’t that what good business owners do?) It took me a long time to realise that saying “I will get back to you” was okay. This allowed me the space and time to make the decision that was right for me.

This is still work in progress, and trust me when I say I was feeling guilty each time I said “no”. However, in the long run, I know I am staying true to myself and doing what’s right for me. This has done my confidence and my HR practice wonders