Why are we afraid to say no?

Everyone is talking about Steve Jobs, the life he lived, and the choices he made.  In the midst of all this, his Seven Rules of Success keep coming up.  Surprisingly I hadn’t ever read them before.  Odd, for someone who loves the Apple products as much as I do!  As I was reading this article, the one rule that caught my attention was number 4: Say no to 1,000 things.

As a society, and especially in the workplace, we seem to have trouble saying no.  It’s as if we feel the ramifications of saying no are worse than the possibility of overextending ourselves to the point where we can no longer satisfy all of our commitments.  Or to the point where we complete them in  hurried, incomplete way.

This fear isn’t isolated to lower-level employees, which makes me think it isn’t only a fear of job-related consequences.  Perhaps we fear for our reputation?

Regardless of the reason, there are a lot of people who need to learn the lesson Steve Jobs taught.  We are able to do a better job with our commitments when we have fewer of them. We can bring be the “A-Team,” as the article states.  And isn’t it better to be known for completing your tasks well and on time?

Obviously this article resonated with me to the point where I decided to write about it.  I’m going to post this item on my desk (and probably on my bathroom mirror!) to remind me that it’s ok to be selective so that I can bring the best possible product to the people who are counting on me.


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