You Need To Say No More Often

You Need To Say No More Often

In 1986, Nancy Reagan announced a campaign against drugs. Sitting next to her husband, President Ronald Reagan, Nancy implored the nation to "just say no" to drugs. It was a damn fine idea.

You may not know this, but drugs are a nasty business. They make you forget how cold and dark the world is, how no one cares about you, how everyone you know is going to die and you're going to die, and what's the point anyways?

At least that's what I've been told. Personally, I don't even drink chocolate milk. The hardest I'll go is regular milk at 2%. Most of the time I do skim, but I wouldn't be caught dead drinking whole milk. I don't need to take something that's going to keep me up all night.

I've been thinking a lot about Nancy Reagan. (I haven't, can you imagine if that was true?) However, I have been thinking about this concept of just saying no.

Like most kids born in the '80s, I was named after Clint Eastwood. The Reagans popularized the idea of just saying no, but it was really my namesake, the great Clint Eastwood, who made it stick.

Clint Eastwood is cool, which means all Clints are cool, which means I'm cool.

There's almost nothing more powerful than saying no. In fact, I don't know a single successful person who doesn't organize their life around this concept. They're not only not afraid to say no, they enjoy it. They know the benefits that lie underneath that simple response: No.

One of my heroes and friends and mentors and all of the other positive adjectives you could possibly insert is Ryan Westwood. He's the founder and CEO of Simplus. We recently talked about the power of saying no on The CEO.com Show.

Let’s home in on two things Ryan said. First, there can be more power in no than yes. This is unquestionably true. If you take just one thing from this, make it that. You do not always have to say yes, you have permission to say no. Why? Because you need to focus; because you've got things to do; because there are people who love you that depend on you; because you've got a world to change.

It's not selfish to say no to someone or something that is going to distract you from focusing on the priorities and values you've set for yourself. In my opinion—and I don't know how much that matters—saying yes to the trivial and distracting is a selfish act. Saying no is the true altruistic play.

For example, I used to pay attention to Twitter.

I would hop on that thing and care about the opinions of people I've never met. It took me far too long to understand those opinions don't matter and that Twitter rewards those who perform insight or intelligence or goodwill—regardless of whether they possess those attributes or not.

What I've come to learn is those who tweet all day have lost their power, their control over their life, and their ability to say no. Now Twitter is easy for me. I follow Nancy Reagan's advice: I just say no.

The second thing Ryan touched on is the V2MOM methodology. V2MOM is a management process developed by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. It stands for the following: Vision, Values, Methods, Obstacles, and Measures.

In a blog post published on Salesforce.com, Benioff writes:

“The V2MOM enables me to clarify what I'm doing and then communicate it clearly to the entire company. It boils down to these five questions, which create a framework for alignment and leadership."

I broke these five questions down in detail on The CEO.com Show:

I don't know much, but I know you should be saying no more often.

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