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The Power of the Word "No"

Welcome to the New Year!

It is officially 2020, which means we must hit the ground running! Hopefully by now, goals have been set, action plans have been developed, and your hustler spirit is alive and kicking!

I feel optimistic about all that lies ahead this year and I am ready to take Pop of Culture to a new level! I am very excited about giving you all more Boss Talk blogs because it serves as a medium for us bosses to connect on issues that we face in our professional lives. To kick off this blog series, I am talking about the power of the word NO and how it can set you free and make you better.

I hope my words resonate with you. If they do, please comment and tell me what you're feeling and how the word "no" has changed your life.

The Power of SAYING No

Many times, we find ourselves in situations that exhaust us, dampen our spirit, frustrate us to no end, put us in bad positions, and make us wish we could rewind time, all because we did not have the courage to say no. We are taught to be giving, kind, selfless, and pleasing to others. Yes, it is important to be all these things, but when does it become too much?

One of the most important lessons I've learned and that has helped me maintain peace of mind is that it is OKAY, and sometimes very necessary, to say no to family, friends, co-workers, bosses, and even yourself. Due to never ending demands at work, FOMO, and the desire to show our friends and family that we love them, "yes" has become the default. But here are several very important reasons why you need to say "no" more in 2020 and beyond:

1. Self-care means putting yourself first

How can you pour into others if you don’t take care of yourself first? Spreading yourself too thin is not an act of love. Rather, it is destructive to your body, mind, and spirit. Your mental and physical health should always be the number one priority because without them, nothing else matters. Tell your friends that you can't make it out because you want to rest in your bed and watch Netflix. Tell your boss that you cannot spend another late night in the office because you want to spend more time experiencing the love of your family. Let people know you'll be unavailable for the weekend because you need to recharge. Say "no" to too many demands and "yes" to self-care.

2. Your time is too valuable to keep giving it away

When you often say yes to requests from others and prioritize their time over yours, you are indirectly saying that your time is not valuable and is for the taking. Time is the most important currency we have because when it is gone, we cannot get it back. Therefore, be observant of situations that aren't serving you in any way, people who don't appreciate the time you give them, and learn to be more selective about what you say yes to. If you don't set expectations and say no when you need to, then others will feel entitled to your time.

3. In order to be productive, you need to focus

In this era of social media and people's lives being on display, it is extremely easy to catch the FOMO bug. We fear missing out on experiences that seem fun, dope, and "Instagrammable". But don't let the fear of missing out keep you from being highly productive and focused on your short-term and long-term goals. Sure, we all love enjoyment, and quite frankly, in this stressful world enjoyment is very necessary. However, be sure you're not letting FOMO over-influence your decision making and be sensible enough to say no when it is in your best interest to focus on the work that is in front of you.

You may be wondering, "how do I say no without being rude or burning bridges?" Here are some quick tips:

- Provide context. To help others better understand where you're coming from, sometimes it helps to tell them why you're saying no. By no means do you owe everyone an explanation, but use your best judgement and decide when providing context can create understanding and maintain relations.

-Always watch your tone. When you say no, you don't need to be saucy, condescending, or insensitive. Be assertive, but still be respectful.

-Let the person know that saying no to one request doesn't mean you're saying no to all future requests. Saying something as simple as "I'm not able to help/go out this time around, but let me know if you need anything/want to hang out in the future."

The Power of RECEIVING a No

You might be thinking how there is power in someone telling you no. Most times, being told no is associated with rejection, and rejection can make you feel insecure, unhappy, and defeated. But as with everything in life, changing your perspective and the way you process adversity can make a big difference in how you move forward. As a boss actively pursuing your dreams and goals, you will hear "no" many times. It is inevitable that as you strive to level up, you will meet resistance. But I am here to remind you that you're on the right path and that being told no can make you better and stronger.

1. The more opportunities you seek, the more you risk rejection

If you're serious about your goals, then you will take advantage of more opportunities and do what you can to put yourself ahead. As we should all know by now, the more often you put yourself out there, the better your chances are of achieving what you want. Consequently, by doing this, you risk more rejection. But instead of seeing rejection as a setback and allowing yourself to wallow in self-pity, see it as a stepping-stone to great rewards.

2. It's not personal

As earlier stated, sometimes rejection can make you feel insecure about yourself and what you have to offer. But the gag is……don't take it personally! Life happens, rejection happens. Don't let the assessment of others make you question your worthiness and ability to achieve. It is easy to think that you're not smart enough, good enough, polished enough, strong enough, and the list goes on and on. But really, when you are told "no" by an employer or turned down for an opportunity you applied for, it simply means that whatever you were offering was not the right fit for what they were looking for at that time, and that could be for many reasons--both biased and unbiased. Don't worry about it! Know that you have what it takes and keep pushing.

3. Being told no can change your perspective and improve your work

You may think your resume is perfect, you may think your presentation is impeccable, and you may think your idea is the best. But life has taught me that there is always room for improvement. When you receive a no, use it as an opportunity to get feedback. What did you miss? What could you have done better? How do you present your idea more effectively next time? Take a step back and try to view your work or idea from other perspectives. Ask the person who said no, as well as close friends, family, business partners, and mentors to give you constructive criticism. Use that feedback to fine tune what you are offering and how you are offering it.

In 2020 and beyond, I challenge you to reclaim your time. It is the most valuable thing we have in our lives. Learn to say no in order to maintain physical and mental health and better your future. I also challenge you to put yourself out there more and embrace rejection! Only the courageous and determined succeed. As Kendrick Lamar said,

"You take a loss, shit don't cry about it, just embrace it. Minor setback for major comeback, that's my favorite."

Thank you for reading and be sure to comment below!

Xoxo - Nyema

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