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Saying “no” to good things…

How comfortable are you deliberately saying “no” to a good opportunity? If that sounds like madness, read on…

Juggling things…

In our lives and work, we can often talk about juggling.  Juggling our different responsibilities and juggling demands on our time/resources.

But have you ever stopped to consider that there is a limit to how many things we can juggle at one time?

In a physical sense, Alex Barrons holds the Genius World Record for one person juggling 11 balls.

In a figurative way – how many balls are you juggling?  Could you cope picking up one more?

Chances are you are already at or near your max (most of us are).

This means to START regularly posting on social media, or attending a new networking event, or writing to your email list… you have to look through all your existing activities and decide what to STOP.

For that, you’ve got to say “no” to things.  And not just bad things.  You need to say no to good things!  I know it sounds mad, but hear me out.

Warren Buffett famously said “really successful people say no to almost everything”.  It sounds super harsh, but think about it for a minute.

You cannot do everything!

This means to really succeed you must focus on the most important things to you.  But, that list of ‘most important’ will likely be more than you can deal with.

Focus too broadly, and you’ll weaken your impact in all areas.  So if you really want impact, you must focus your efforts on just a few things.

In my Business Strategy Pitstop programme, we work through these things together. It’s my favourite part, and my years of experience as a Chartered Accountant mean that I’m really good at spotting opportunities. If you’d like an expert eye on your business, this is the programme for you.

Setting your focus

Warren has a technique to help…

  1. He says to write down a list (~25) of the top things you most want to do.
  2. Then prioritise the list
  3. Now highlight your top 5 – these are your focus. The only things you’ll work towards.

This sees you ignore the remaining 20 of your top things.  And that’s what makes them dangerous.

Let’s call these your ‘Danger 20’.

When opportunities come up in your danger 20, they are exciting.  You want to get involved.  It might be a fun direction to go in.  You could be really helping others out.

But that’s the problem.  Any use of effort on your danger 20 dilutes your focus and weakens your impact on your top 5.  You’re now sacrificing really delivering on your top 5 to do an ok job at a 6th item.

The cure:  You need to consciously ignore all opportunities within your danger 20.

It’s as simple as that.

Only that’s easy to say and much harder to do.

To make it work, you might need to shift your mindset a bit.  To accept:

  1. There is no simple “correct” answer to this. The top 5 aren’t perfect, but that’s ok.  It’s about consistently focusing on only 5 things from your list, whatever they happen to be.
  2. This means saying no to some good things.

That last point really hit me.

I’ve spent years trying to be more confident in saying no.  But I’ve always focused on saying no to things I don’t like, not the things I do.

Yet I know Warren is right.  If I want to achieve, I need to hone in, focus my efforts and make a huge impact in a few areas, rather than an infinity smaller impact over a wider area.

Testimonial from Natalie Pithers

Putting it into practice

So what do I think the biggest barrier is to making this happen?


Specifically, how you approach determining your priorities.

Because this directly determines your top 5 and danger 20.  To feel comfort in your decision making, you want to get this right.

And I know what helps:  a well-considered bespoke-to-you plan makes all the difference.  It removes the guesswork, giving a clear framework to know what to focus on (your top 5) and what to consciously ignore (your danger 20).

I can even get you started making this plan, with my free 12 minute video guide “the 6 step process for designing a business as unique as you are”.

Or, if you don’t want to work through it on your own, we can journey through it together, providing my expert eyes and coaching skills to provide real insight into you and your business.  Check out my Business Strategy Pitstop programme, or drop me a message.

Free 12 minute video guide…

The 6 step process for designing a business as unique as you are…

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