We’re always being told to say ‘yes’. As if our lives, like poor Gwyneth Paltrow’s character in Sliding Doors literally depended on it. Say ‘no’ we’re told, and you’ll at best be unhappy, at worst, if Sliding Doors is to be believed, fighting for your life in Intensive Care.
There’s this enormous pressure to seize the day, jump on tables and be relentlessly positive, embracing opportunities wherever they present themselves. And ok, saying yes has made a huge difference to me, personally and professionally. Shy bairns get nowt after all.
And yet there can be something just as liberating about saying no.
After talking to someone at a meeting recently, an email arrived asking for a quote for photography. Immediately the excitement built; my lucky break at last! This would be how it starts. I reply with a quote and already I’m spending it: a nice meal, some new equipment, a mini-break…
Then the reply comes back. Their budget won’t cover it. They were expecting to pay half the amount quoted.
Disappointment sets in. The mini-break evaporates. I could go back and haggle but the quote was a fair reflection of my skills and the time required to complete it.
But if I say yes, I’ll get paid. It’s better than nothing.
‘No.’ The other voice in my head said. They didn’t understand what you were offering, so is it really worth pursuing? It has to be right for me and the business. There’ll be something else. Move on.
So I wrote a very polite reply. I said no.
It felt good.
On to the next one.