This I hope is going to be a short post!
The power of "No" is immense on so many levels. By saying, "No" you can free yourself up to do other things, turn down a bad option, walk away from bad situations, and so many other positive things...
The power of "No" can also hurt, stop movement, and kill dreams.
How can one word have such different meanings?
It is such a small word, I am pretty sure it is just 2 letters.
How do you use "No"? I have thought about this word a bit lately after hearing a podcast on the Tim Ferriss show from Dec. 13th where he interviewed Derek Sivers the creator of cdbaby.com and many other things. His "No" was all about freeing himself up for being able to say "Yes" later. Those "No's" are easy to explain in a way, and if you listen to the podcast he talks about them much better than I could ever write.
So I am going to talk about that other "No". The one that kills ideas, dreams, and movement. I remember one of the first times I talked to the #cddolphins back in the spring of 2014, I promised them that, "No" would be a word I would try and seldom, if ever use.
What did this do? For me it freed me up from having to be the filter of all ideas that might challenge the status quo. It allowed me to say, "Yes" and "Tell me more". It was powerful to me, and I hope powerful for them.
What happens when as a leader you say, "No" to "No's"? It is a scary for a moment and then trust is built, you feel each other out, you realize there are boundaries, but no conversation is not worth having if an idea has sprung in your head.
I will be honest I have said, "No" or something close to that since that day, but my mindset is not to squash ideas or thoughts. Like I said I have reverted to "NO" and out of habit recoiled with a look, but then have tried to go back to my "Yes" mindset. Usually able to recover.
As a leader start there. If you are not sure you are innovative, a leader, have influence, or anything along those lines, just start with not saying, "No". It is liberating and changed my mindset more than any twitter chat, conversation, book I read, or keynote I have seen.
Saying that you will not say, "No" is actually more than just words, as long as you live by it. It is action, a commitment, way more powerful than any "Yes".
After listening to David Sivers I confirmed that this does not have to be that hard, just make small changes in thought to create large changes in approach and build systems you can maintain and back up with actions. JUST SAY NO TO NO!