The Positive Power of “No”

by James on October 24, 2008

Few, and none who know me, would accuse me of being a pessimist. However, there is a word, often considered negative, the word “no,” that I use a lot.

Now here is the glass half full part. I think it’s a very positive word. I use it in my work and at home, and have frequently experienced positive outcomes from saying “no.”

All sorts of benefits come from this simple, short word.

“No you can’t do that.”  If you hear this, it’s a wonderful opportunity for innovation.  Or, if you have to say it, it’s a great way to set limits. Either way, figure out what the obstacles are and determine a new path.

If they want to put good money against a bad idea say, “No Mr. Client, I can’t spend your money on this idea.” Show them a better way to spend the budget. It’s a great way to prove your integrity and build trust.

If they want to do something that’s crazy, and this happens quite frequently, tell them it’s a bad idea. Good clients appreciate the push back. The bad ones, well they probably aren’t long term anyway.

Hip Shots

  • Don’t be afraid to say “no.”  It’s much easier to say “no” at the beginning than it is at the end. “No, the project didn’t work as we planned.”
  • Say “no” to set limits. Every healthy relationship has limits. Don’t be afraid to set them.
  • Say “no” to stimulate innovation.  “Lets pretend we can’t do it the way we always have.  What else can we do?”

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