[Editor's Note from AJ: I had a private message from a fellow Lensmaster recently asking how I manage my online Juggling Act, so I shared a few tips but also suggested that my contact check out how Paula Atwell does things, because she is one of the most focussed lensmasters I know. Then, when I was trawling the Squidlog Archives for some good articles to recycle I found this one.]
Recently Seth Godin had me laughing sympathetically at this quote from his post, Saying “no”, “Saying no to loud people gives you the resources to say yes to important opportunities.”
What a great way to say what is so absolutely true, that people will try to drag you into their projects if they think you can give them something. Now, I understand that they do not usually realize that they are chipping away at your time to grow and develop your career, but they do nevertheless.
It is our responsibility to ourselves and our careers to say, “No” often to donation requests, help requests, and many other freebies that people always want from us. We need to save ourselves for those unique opportunities that come along. We also need to stay focused on where WE want to go, and what WE want to spend our valuable time on.
As a small business owner, I find myself inundated with requests for donations, and free help for all sorts of organizations. Some of them are very worthy, and some are not. But even with the worthy organizations, if I gave of myself or my business as much as they want, I would have nothing left to support myself, my family, or the other numerous suppliers and vendors who depend on my customers to keep them in business.
Each one of us has special talents and abilities to offer the world. Whether that means that you are the best baker in the world, or even in your neighborhood or your talent lies in gardening, you should spend your time where it makes the most focused impact.
It is okay to say “no” to a distraction, if it means that you will be able to accomplish so much more that day. It is okay to tell someone that you will have to help them later because you are involved in a project right now. And it is okay to let someone know that your time is valuable and they will have to schedule an appointment to talk to you later about their work.
Your talent is a gift, and you should make the most of it. Don’t let others take pieces of you until there is nothing left.