Saying No is essential to Success

August 31, 2009

Having a full time job and trying to run an online business can be a very challenging endeavor, especially when you are just getting started online. There is so much information to learn, so much to keep updated on and so many mistakes to make and learn from.

I remember when I first started having online success. I was literally attached to my computer whenever I had a spare moment. Since I'm a teacher at a boarding academy, it was indeed a challenge. However, since I'm the kind of teacher that likes giving the students assignments for them to practice on, whenever they would be working on assignments, I would be at the front of the class, monitoring what they were doing AND working online at the same time.

Choices

Choices

Eventually, I got to a point where I realized that I was just TOO BUSY. Yes, I was making money, but I often felt as if I was neglecting my students, and even my wife. Whenever I wasn't working at school, I was working online.

Now, when I first started my online business, one of the main reasons it looked so appealing was because I had seen a number of people who were doing it and evidently they weren't spending much time doing it. That sounded exciting to me. It was not just about making money. It was about the freedom of how the Internet Lifestyle could be.

However, this was not my experience. When my wife pointed out to me that I was spending much more time with my laptop than with her and that it was really having an effect on her, I knew that something had to change.

It was at that point I had to realize something very humbling, and it might be that you need to become aware of this too. Are you ready for it? Ok, here it comes . . . I CAN'T DO EVERYTHING! Yes, it hit me right smack dab in the face. In order to be successful, I had to let certain things go. This was something that applied to my teaching job AND my online business. I had to learn to say NO.

Here's how it applies to what you do in life (online and off)

There were two important points to consider. The first begins with the following questions. What are you goals in life? This is a fundamental question that, if put in perspective, eliminates a lot of unnecessary junk. It's pretty simple. Whatever you find yourself busy doing needs to be evaluated as to whether or not it is in alignment with your goals. If it is, then it's something you should consider doing. If not, WHY ARE YOU DOING IT? STOP NOW!!! Say NO to those things, because they only distract you from reaching your goals.

Now, that’s just the beginning. This second point is equally as important and often overlooked. Just because something is in alignment with your goals, it doesn’t mean that it’s something you HAVE to do. The fact is that if you were to do everything that is in alignment with your goals, you would have NO time for yourself or for the people you care about. Remember that the ultimate goal is not just financial success but also freedom.

When looking at the things you do on a daily basis, it’s very necessary to prioritize that list, so that it becomes obvious what things you MUST do (necessary) and what things are just good to do (unnecessary). Make sure you can identify the difference between the two.

Since, my real job is a teacher at a boarding academy, I get to be involved with students on a deeper level than the average high school teacher. I love my kids. However, if I were to say Yes to every request I received from every student, I would be taking students into town to go to Walmart or McDonalds all day, everyday. Yes, it is great to spend time with them and get to know them better. However, it is necessary to have balance.

If you find yourself being extremely busy on a day to day basis, ask yourself the following question – What can I say no to and still accomplish my goals? Once you have answered that question, start saying no.

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12 Comments

  • A really good post, Leslie…one that I think will be good to come back to and read again once in awhile as a good reminder. I think that the idea of having more time and more flexibility is definitely a big appeal to many who turn to the internet to make money. I know it was for me. It is hard to not only prioritize but also to actually stick to those priorities on a daily basis–esp. on the internet. I am always amazed at how busy you can be online without accomplishing anything that will move you closer to your goals. I am finding that I have to remind myself frequently to remain focused.
    .-= Linda McFadden´s last blog ..Best Darn Freebies =-.

    • Thanks Linda. I definitely agree with you. I know that I’ve spent a significant amount of inefficient time online in the past, and that still happens every so often. But I’m learning to prioritize more and more. It’s definitely a learning process!

  • A really good post, Leslie…one that I think will be good to come back to and read again once in awhile as a good reminder. I think that the idea of having more time and more flexibility is definitely a big appeal to many who turn to the internet to make money. I know it was for me. It is hard to not only prioritize but also to actually stick to those priorities on a daily basis–esp. on the internet. I am always amazed at how busy you can be online without accomplishing anything that will move you closer to your goals. I am finding that I have to remind myself frequently to remain focused.
    .-= Linda McFadden´s last blog ..Best Darn Freebies =-.

    • Leslie says:

      Thanks Linda. I definitely agree with you. I know that I’ve spent a significant amount of inefficient time online in the past, and that still happens every so often. But I’m learning to prioritize more and more. It’s definitely a learning process!

  • Hey Leslie,
    I have been “too busy” to visit your blogs and other sites lately. I accidentally run into “Saying No…” and I was instinctively drawn to it. As I read it, I had to admit that I was suffering from a severe case of being terribly busy, but not accomplishing much. Linda’s comment: “I am always amazed at how busy you can be online without accomplishing anything that will move you closer to your goals” really describes me. Great post, Leslie, one of your best because it probably applies to 99% of the people who think about this issue, and have the courage to be honest with themselves.

    I will revisit your post when I need to get back to being productive again.

    Juan

    • Thanks a bunch for the feedback Juan. I definitely hear you. It’s sooo easy to get “too busy”. I’m getting to the place where I’m deciding to focus on 1 or 2 things daily and get them done well.

      Glad to have you visiting my blog. Keep coming and I’ll keep trying to share what I learn.

  • Hey Leslie,
    I have been “too busy” to visit your blogs and other sites lately. I accidentally run into “Saying No…” and I was instinctively drawn to it. As I read it, I had to admit that I was suffering from a severe case of being terribly busy, but not accomplishing much. Linda’s comment: “I am always amazed at how busy you can be online without accomplishing anything that will move you closer to your goals” really describes me. Great post, Leslie, one of your best because it probably applies to 99% of the people who think about this issue, and have the courage to be honest with themselves.

    I will revisit your post when I need to get back to being productive again.

    Juan

    • Leslie says:

      Thanks a bunch for the feedback Juan. I definitely hear you. It’s sooo easy to get “too busy”. I’m getting to the place where I’m deciding to focus on 1 or 2 things daily and get them done well.

      Glad to have you visiting my blog. Keep coming and I’ll keep trying to share what I learn.

  • This is something I battle with everyday, in spite of being very organised. Thanks for the reminder Leslie.

    • @Ravi Peal-Shankar I definitely know and understand that struggle. I’ve struggled with the same thing and still struggle with it today. However, we take it one step at a time and learn to do things better than before. Glad to be able to share it with you Ravi 🙂

  • johnb421 says:

    Thank you so much Leslie for this sound advice, and this is something that I need to hear. Each morning after I turn on my computer to take care of business, I stop to answer my mail, which takes up to 1 to 2 hour, which is time wasted I could be working on my site. I get so angry at myself, because that was serious time I could have us for business. I’m so glad that I open your mail first this morning, for this is something that I really needed to hear…again thank you.

    • @johnb421 You are very much welcome. Yep, I struggle with that same thing from time to time. That’s why it’s VERY important to keep reminding ourselves, and then take action towards being more efficient. All the best John!

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