How often do you find yourself in a situation you regret being in? Or wishing you had made a better decision? Do you sometimes avoid moments of silence because you are afraid of the thoughts “I shouldn’t have accepted that job!” or “why did I say yes to that person?” Sometimes it is easier to bypass these moments of silence and busy ourselves by just doing all the things we have promised to do (wihich we wish we hadn’t).
I was told that one of the basic things about starting my own business was to “say yes first and figure out how later”. I found myself doing this and sometimes in mid-project, really regretting the choice. Wondering why I was so quick to say yes when I should have really thought it through a bit more. Impulsiveness is sometimes adventurous and exciting, but sometimes, it denies you to the right to make a conscious decision. Especially if it is misaligned with your values and denies you peace of mind.
A wonderful book I read recently highlighted some great points. The book is called The Power of No by James and Claudia Altucher (a really easy and insightful read!). In the book they say that for every YES you say, there should be three NOs preceding it. So whenever you have to make a decision, try and incorporate these 3 No’s.
1) First NO – Because you simply need more information about the person and/or the opportunity. “This sounds good, but let me ask you a few more questions so I can understand how I can best help you”.
2) Second NO – You have done your research on the person/opportunity. Now you need to know more about the relationship and the collaboration structure. This might end up being a long term project so you need to know all the details.
3) Third NO – Now you have to make a decision. You will base it on how all of this information aligns with your values. Do you like this person? Do you like this project? Can you add value and do you see this as a value? To make this decision you would say “Give me a little bit of time to make this decision”.
James Altucher says, you may not have a chance to get through all the No’s because the opportunity may drop off after one of the NOs. Or you may decide after the first No, that you do not want to move ahead anyway. Either way, if the opportunity to say YES never comes up, you know that there was never a YES in this opportunity anyway.
If you can introduce this gap between impulse and action, then you could potentially save yourself from having to back out of commitments you accepted prematurely.