I’ve always been able to say “no” but I did not necessarily do it with the grace or civility of a gentleman.  When I said no it was a final answer, and left no room for debate.   I was blunt, direct and to be honest probably pretty rude.  I had no concept or vision of how I may want to revisit the opportunity I had just rejected in the future.  I never contemplated how I could soften my delivery to be less offensive or hurtful to the other person involved.  I have no idea how many relationships were damaged or worse, completely lost, because of my lack of awareness in delivering the “bad news”.  I always thought acting in this manner demonstrated decisiveness, authority, and a commitment to the answer.  I’m now learning just how wrong I was!

Now as a small business owner and through natural maturation, I have realized the importance of relationships in everything I do.  I know I cannot achieve what I want to alone, without good business partners, mentors, family, and friends by my side.  Now when I say “no”, I’m purposeful to balance it with the idea that as we change and business changes, we may want to discuss this idea again or at least have a relationship in which the discussion can take place.  I will not place the delivery of the “no” above the maintaining of the relationship and the respectful treatment of the persons involved.

There are always times when you will have to say no to new ideas, marketing plans, coffee dates, meetings or other tasks/items that are not where you should be spending your time or energy that day.  I’ll continue to work on saying “no” to these things in a manner that demonstrates the respect I have for those who value me and my time enough to even ask in the first place.