The opportunity cost of saying “no”, isn’t losing a client. It’s losing your business.
I’ve always struggled with being a “yes-man”.
Getting validation is what gave me the “okay” that I was doing things right and that it was valuable. And if that didn’t happen, I felt like a complete failure. I raced against time, working from 4 am to midnight most days just to feel a sense of accomplishment and to catch up with the workload I over-committed to. I didn’t niche down into my field because I WANTED to do all the things to prove the investment in hiring me was the right choice. I didn’t establish working hours or communication boundaries because I wanted to be a team player that was reliable no matter what.
What I didn’t realize, is that ALL of those things can still happen without exhaustion and overcommitment. The opportunity cost of NOT doing those things doesn’t equal failure. It’s actually stronger for your business and your personal life. By niching down, you’re doing the things you LOVE doing, NOT that you can’t do other things, but what you’re doing in business and life matters and it should be something you love. I can mow, weed-eat, trim, and groom the front yard but that doesn’t mean I WANT to. Do you get me?
In the same way, by establishing working hours and communication boundaries, you’re reducing the unnecessary back-and-forth that isn’t life or death. It’s WHO YOU ARE as a person that if it was an emergency, your clients know they can rely on you and how to get ahold of you if needed. But to protect the energy of BOTH of your working lives, it’s okay to put down your notebook before or after your team does. 8 am – 5 pm isn’t standard. You set the standard – as long as that is communicated across the board.
I found myself itching to do more because I thought that increased my worth. But, what that did was create chaos. I couldn’t get simple things done on time. I kept committing to bigger projects and wasn’t able to chip away at them like I knew I could. I was absolutely paralyzed. And what that led to was a truly hard period where I had to look myself in the mirror and remind myself why I’m in this space, and THIS wasn’t the reason. It was SO hard to ease myself into creating those boundaries – kinda like the feeling of having an itch you can’t scratch. Like you “need to” but shouldn’t because it’s not going to help anything. Well – it was the same. But once I started practicing saying no, slowing down, and truly being invested and focused on one thing at a time, my magic and desire came back. It didn’t mean I wasn’t worthy or good at what I do or capable of ever being recognized for making a difference. The moment you set out to PROVE those things, is the moment you recognize deep down that it’s not true.
The moment you say “yes” to more than you can physically and mentally bear, is the moment everything spirals out of control. You can absolutely accomplish all-the-things without overcommitting for the simple fact of being worthy. Being worthy isn’t defined by if you can lift a car or not. Accomplishing something, whether it’s deciding to cook at home versus eat out, does not make you worthy or any “smarter”. It’s simply just a choice, not defined by one out-weighing the other.
The moment you give in to that feeling and let validation become your sense of worth is the moment where your foundation crumbles. It’s okay to say no. (No is a FULL SENTENCE. And it doesn’t need an explanation to “prove” anything.)
So, I challenge you. If you’re stuck in the paralyzed state of overcommitment based on your interpretation of worth, it’s time to look in the mirror. You are worthy, my friend. So believe in yourself. The moment you START believing in yourself is the moment your life can start changing.
And if you’re a CEO or a leader on your team and run into someone on your team exhibiting the behaviors above, don’t throw in the towel. Reach out a hand. Don’t give up on your people. In order to have the dream team you desire, you have to go through thick-and-thin together. Sometimes that means being there for them like a friend. Consider how you would feel in those moments and then HELP in ways you would want to be helped. Don’t accuse them of not accomplishing something. Don’t say you “noticed this happening” and approach it from a negative perspective. Just ASK what can you both do to get out of the rut NOW so that your relationship AND productivity will SOAR later.