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Raise Your Effectiveness and Say No!

You don’t have to work within the Emergency Management or First-responder fields very long before you realize, there is never enough time to get everything done. If you know this, you would assume that we would be pretty good at saying “no” but the reality is, we are often some of the worst. We share some very common traits, including perseverance, a desire to help, and frequently an over-inflated ego. While these might help us in our jobs, they often lead us to take on more than we can effectively handle. Our effectiveness suffers and in our career fields, this is unacceptable. Often, if we are not operating at 100%, people get hurt and could possible die.

What if I was to tell you that you do not have to do it all, and that you can do a few things very well, but it is going to require you to say, “No.”

A recent article I was reading praised Steve Jobs for his ability to say no to people when they asked him to do something.[1] The author pulled out a few points that I wanted to share here with you, that I think will help us learn to say no.

  • Before saying yes to something, ask yourself this question — ‘Do I really need to do this?’ Don’t give the answer to fast. Take a few seconds to think before giving them an answer. It will allow you the needed time to decide.

  • Create boundaries for yourself. If anyone moves outside of these, they answer would automatically be “No.”

  • Mastering the art of saying no requires time, and you need to start practicing. Begin by saying no to things at your home or friends, to whom you think saying no won’t hurt them.

  • Don’t drag it out. If you want to say no, say no. This is the most effective means of letting people know that you already have something on your plate.

We all operate with a certain amount of time each day and need to prioritize what takes up each moment. It's absolutely fine to say "no." Saying yes to what you see as "the good" might cause you to miss "the great."


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