The Value of ‘No’

A few days ago, a friend of mine asked what my New Year’s resolution was, and I jokingly answered “Be less agreeable”.  I expected a laugh, but instead she looked at me, nodded, and said “You mean say ‘No’ more.’

The more I thought about that, the more it made sense. The more I realized that’s exactly the resolution I need to wrap myself in. Because the word ‘No’ is making a comeback. The value of ‘No’ is actually pretty powerful. Especially if you look at it a little differently than maybe we’re used to. Here’s why:

  • It protects your time and energy. By saying ‘no’ you can concentrate on those things that mean the most to you and shed some of the stuff that is getting in the way. Signal versus noise is something we all have to fight for.
  • It Gets You Closer to Where You Need to Be. By hearing ‘no’, especially when you’re pitching projects or jobs, you are by definition getting closer to a ‘Yes’. The famous salesman and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar was known for embracing the ‘no’, because he knew if he didn’t hear that enough times, he would never get to the ‘yes’ he really wanted. It was a law of averages he loved to play, and play it well he did.
  • It Brings Meaning Back to ‘Yes’. If you’re saying ‘Yes’ to every request or opportunity, the value of that ‘Yes’ loses it’s currency. It’s not important anymore. You’re giving it away for free. Similarly, if all you’re hearing is ‘yes’ , then chances are you’re not reaching high enough or deep enough into possibility and risk.

So one of my goals is to say and hear ‘No’ a bit more. This won’t be easy – but if I can manage to do this gracefully, I know this points to a bolder path, a deeper meaning, and a bigger ‘Yes’.

And a bigger ‘Yes’ is what we want to film this year.


Photo: Western University Shoot.  

Author: Chris Donaldson

Chris Donaldson is Executive Producer at HCFmedia. Can film making change the world? The Short Answer: Yes.