The Power of “No”

Below is an amazing excerpt from the Birth Order Connection by Dr. Kevin Leman. It isn’t a business book (it’s actually about birth orders and compatibility between potential spouses).

I highly recommend reading it.

“Dr. Leman, we’d like you to appear on a panel for us again, ” Oprah’s associate producer inquired (very early in the morning, I might add). “Think you could get on a plane today and come out to Chicago?”

“I don’t think so, ” I replied.

I have learned to avoid panels with a passion. You never get to fully express your perspective when five people appear at the same time, and I’m simply not interested in shouting over others to gain my thirty seconds of air time.

Forty-five minutes later, Oprah’s senior producer called me, “I understand you have a problem with our associate producer and you don’t want to appear on the show.”

“No, that’s not true,” I said. “I don’t have any problem with that producer.”

“Well, did you know we’re the top-rated talk show?”

“Sure, I know that.”

“Then why did you turn us down?”

“I don’t do panels,” I explained.

“Oh,” she said.

Twenty minutes later the senior producer called back. “We decided to change the show.”

“What’s the change?” I asked.

“Your’re it.”

I was on a plane that morning.

There can be tremendous power in the word “No.” “No” can move you from a terrible situation to an ideal one. But you have to be willing to suffer a “mini loss” if you want to get the real thing.

When you’re young and driven, you want to say “yes” to everything. God forbid you miss out on an opportunity, right? God forbid you shoot yourself in the foot by refusing to help a colleague and causing a potential grudge, right?

That’s very naive.

“No” is an extremely powerful word—I’m still learning that.

When I start looking at houses I’m going to have to say “no” a lot. $600,000 is way too much money to worry about feelings. Sure, the seller or the realtor might be disappointed…but they’ll live.

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