When you accept responsibilities that you do not have the mental or physical capacity to fulfill, it can send a message that you are more concerned about quantity of projects, rather than the quality of execution. It’s great to be talented in a variety of areas, just be careful that in taking on multiple responsibilities that you do not become a Jack of All Trades, yet Master of None.
Somewhere along the way, perhaps you have been taught that the more you take on, the better your chances to demonstrate your ability. You believe that the heavier your workload, the more valued you are to the organization. Maybe you’ve been told that saying ‘no’ is a sign of your inability and that you will be committing career suicide by not accepting that big project in your department.
Your ‘yes’ may have various meanings, but let’s explore what a ‘yes’ means in the context of 1.) association 2.) prioritization 3.)negotiation:
My Yes Means Association
When you say yes, it is a reflection of your personal brand. Associate yourself with things and activities that bring value. Filter opportunities carefully so that you do not become associated with junk. When you are not careful about the things that you associate yourself with, you become labeled as the go-to person. I don’t mean the go-to person because you are the expert…I mean the go-to person because people know that you wont say ‘no’.
My Yes Means Prioritization
Once you have determined what you want to be associated with, then it’s time to prioritize. This task is a lot easier said than done for most of us, and there are countless ways in which to assign priority. How do you prioritize when everything is important? That’s exactly the point! Everything that is important is not necessarily a priority. Hmmmm.
My Yes Means Negotiation
Contrary to what you may have been taught, your ‘yes’ does not have to mean that you accept things exactly as presented. That’s where the art and skill of negotiation comes in. When you consider that negotiation entails all interactions between two or more points of view, it’s easy to see that you will have to negotiate with yourself as well as others. Decide what works for you, what is an absolute no-no, and what things you are willing to compromise. The bottom line is that you want to create a win-win situation.
I realize that saying ‘no’ is not the easiest thing to do, but the next time you say ‘yes’, make sure that it means something. Your ‘yes’ will signify that it is something that you want to be associated with; your ‘yes’ represents that it is a priority; and your ‘yes’ indicates that you have done the necessary negotiations to ensure the best outcome for all parties involved.
When your ‘yes’ does not mean this (in the context discussed above), then maybe you should JUST SAY NO!