I subscribe to his daily blog which I look forward to each morning. This one, which came the other day hit home so fiercely I must share. Go read and I’ll be here when you get back: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2011/11/no.html
He’s not being mean. I run into this dilemma all the time, especially when trying to grow a new business in these tough times. Recently I was approached by a deli owner struggling to keep his doors open. My mama taught me “yes”. Yes I can, Yes I will, Yes, there’s no job too small for me. And I’m sure your mama taught you the same lessons growing up. She meant well, and for many aspects of my life ‘yes’ has served me well. And I like being a yes person, it really makes me feel like a better person. But here was a clear instance where no was the the more obvious answer, the better answer, the more responsible answer. But….I couldn’t get it out. I hemmed, I hawed, I tried to talk him out of it, and in my lame attempts I succeeded in convincing him even more that he did, in fact ,need my services. How was this happening? I wasn’t trying to play hard to get, here! The fact was, that Deli Man couldn’t afford my services, A, and B, even if he could, my services was not what he needed right now; he needed to make a business decision as to whether he was going to keep his doors open. Online marketing and a website was not going to do it for him, at least not at this juncture. In the end I told him I would think about it, and see if we could work something out, knowing all along that we would not. Ultimately I wussed out and sent him a cowardly email the following day explaining to him why I couldn’t take on the job. Next time I’ll do a better job.