We are reluctant to say "no". It's abrupt. It's final. It seems like the end of possibilities.
But maybe that's just because of how we've come to understand the word.
Growing up, when you wanted something really badly, the last thing you wanted to hear from your parents was a "no". When you applied to your favorite college, the worst answer you could get back was a "no". When you interviewed for your first job, it was rather painful to be told "no". When you had that great executive idea - the perfect strategy for your business, the last answer you wanted to hear from your boss after your pitch was a "no".
Because "no" means that somehow we haven't thought through all of the angles. "No"means that we're not as smart as we thought we were. "No" is the end of the dream.
It's painful to hear. It's hard to say. Because of what "no" means to us.
And so we half-ass our ability to be amazing.
We forget that "no" is the beginning of clarity. The beginning of focus.
Every time you say "no" you create more clarity. You give yourself a better opportunity somewhere else to succeed. It might seem easier to dish out a "kinda", "sorta", "maybe", "I'll think about it" type of answer, but you're only hurting yourself by muddying up the options.
You're creating new questions for yourself when you already know the answer. The answer is "no".
Start thinking about "no" as an opportunity to focus on what really matters to you. Stop agreeing to things just because you might hurt someone's feelings or because you feel you might let someone down.
"No" doesn't mean you can be selfish. But it does mean you should give yourself all the opportunity in the world to succeed.
Just say "no".