Hi Team,

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the power of saying no and how this helps you to avoid overwhelm and stress.

"Saying yes to everyone ultimately leads to overwhelm and self-punishment." Jacqui Marson

However, there is a big difference between being selfish and dismissive and being respectful and empathetic when saying no to someone. In fact, there is quite an art to saying no. There have been numerous books written specifically about this topic and one of my favourite podcaster's, Tim Ferriss, has dedicated an entire episode to the right way to say no.

By prioritising your time and resources and saying no to the wrong opportunities, you are working towards your own goals and not someone else's. When you say yes to something you don't want to do you hate what you end up doing and resent the person you are doing it for. So, the only person you hurt is yourself.

"Givers need to set limits because takers rarely do." Rachel Wolchin

A few weeks ago I was approached by a friend of a friend to quote the building of a new house in South Yarra. On the surface this looked like a great opportunity and a good fit for DDB. However, after spending a couple of hours reviewing the plans and a face-to-face meeting with the client, it became obvious to me that this was the wrong project for me and for DDB. This project did not meet several of my criteria for saying yes. But because this client was referred to me personally by a very close friend, I felt a strong obligation to say yes and waste a huge chunk of my personal time quoting a job I knew was not right for DDB. So, after much sole searching, I followed Tim Ferriss' advice and wrote a carefully worded email that said no in the right way. Here is Tim's formula for delivering a respectful "no" that leaves a positive impression.

  1. Write a personal email that thanks them and acknowledges the opportunity they have given you.
  2. Never waffle or be indecisive and avoid any indication of guilt in your email.
  3. Include a "it's me not you" message.
  4. Clearly explain the main reason you can't say yes to their request. A strong reason is "you are already fully committed to other projects and would not be able to start their project for xxx period of time"
  5. If possible, refer them on to someone that might be able to help them with their project.

"You can be a good person with a generous heart and still say no." Tim Ferriss

Thanks for reading,
Stay safe and be respectful when saying no.

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