Chances are you’ve experienced burnout at some point in your career. Maybe you feel like the only way to get ahead is to be the person that always says “yes”. Maybe you’re afraid you’ll miss out on career or growth opportunities if you say “no”.
Well the good news is… it’s not true! Learn how to use “no” to boost your brand, further your career, and find a work-life balance in this Thrive in Five.
Your Burn-Out Risk
Are you at risk of burning out? By now, you know how much we love MindTools! If you’re not sure if you’re at risk of burning out, they have a great, 15 question self-assessment to give you an idea. If you’re feeling lack-luster, unmotivated, tired, or stressed at work, click below to take the assessment.
The Upside to Saying “No”
Here are the top reasons you should say “no” more often:
- When you say no, you can say yes. If you’re saying yes to everything, you might be known as reliable and dependable, but it detracts from time you could spend on something you’re really passionate about, like your “why”.
- You can get really good at a few things. If you choose to only say yes to things that align with your interests, you will be able to hone your skills in areas that have meaning to you. Rather than being known for the “yes” person, you’ll be known as the “go-to pitch” person, the “killer design” person, or the “amazing negotiation” person. Decide what you want to be known for, and find opportunities that support that goal.
- You will boost your career. Once you are known as the “go-to ” person, people will start coming to you with those types of opportunities. Your career will launch in a direction that both interests and motivates you.
- You will find a better balance. Aside from focusing your professional brand, saying “no” gives you the opportunity to find the right work-life balance for you. Whether that means working a 60 hour, 5 day week and then going off-radar for the weekend, or working 6 hours for 6 or 7 days, you’ll be able to find a routine that works for you and lowers your risk for burn-out.
- You can over deliver. At Evans Incorporated, we have a mantra: “Under promise and over deliver.” If you’re saying yes to everything, you might find that you can’t deliver the quality of work you’re capable of. If you under promise, you can increase the quality of your work, and if you have time, you can add on and impress your boss, client, or co-workers by doing more than you said you could.
When you think about it, there aren’t many negatives to saying “no” and focusing your commitment to opportunities that boost your brand!
Apply the Five!
We know that saying “no” can be uncomfortable, so it’s useful to think of frequent situations where you want to decline a request and practice the language. This language is more easily recalled once practiced, so it’s more natural in the moment and less awkward. Here are some example situations you can prepare for:
- A coworker asks for your help on a project you’re not involved in and don’t have any interest in.
- A supervisor offers you an opportunity to develop a skill you don’t want, such as speaking at a conference.
- An employee pitches a good idea or makes a good suggestion that just isn’t possible at this time.
- A client requests an add-on to the project deliverable, but it’s not realistic for the given timeline or is out-of-scope for the current statement of work.
Here are some suggestions for making “no” less abrasive:
- Make an alternative suggestion.
- Briefly explain why, but don’t get into details.
Use definitive language in a sympathetic tone. (Ex: “I can’t/I don’t” versus “I wish I could/Maybe another time”)
- Say it in person or, at a minimum, make a phone call. Tone often doesn’t translate well over email or text.
Learn How Evans Thrives!
What better way to inspire you to thrive than to hear about real people making it happen? And what better way to learn about Evans than to make those real people Evans employees?
Meet Ashley Tolub!
There is a natural tendency to want to prove your capabilities, and this often manifests by choosing to take on a lot of work. I had a manager once joke that he had to ‘protect me from myself,’ because I took on as much work as possible. Even though some of us thrive on having a full plate, you can quickly reach the point of being overloaded. Think of the Project Management Triangle above. When overloaded, it is virtually impossible to maximize scope, schedule and cost, and still produce quality outputs. Here are some important tips to recognize:
- Saying “no” doesn’t have to be an exchange with someone else. It can be an internal recognition that you’re putting too much pressure on yourself. Ask yourself, ‘Is it critical for my job or my family that I get this done today?’ If the answer is “no,” it can wait.
- Establish working parameters. From the time I pick up my son from daycare until the time I put him to bed, I don’t take work calls or return emails. If I’m asked to participate in a meeting during this time, I say “no”.
- Embrace the NO! After the birth of my son, I realized that it was impossible to ‘do it all’. Once I accepted this, I significantly reduced my stress levels. Now I focus on what must be done and recognize that I’ll get around to that other stuff ‘someday’… and if I don’t, that’s OK, too!
Until next time,
The Evans Thrive Team
(Nicole, Kaitlin, Laura, Bob, and Sean)