When was the last time you said “no” to someone or something? Life would be so much easier if we could just say “no” more often – so why can’t we? Today host John Laurito talks about the importance of saying no – to the wrong people, things, and even opportunities – to make space for the right ones.
[1:22] Today’s riddle is…
[3:50] Say no to the wrong things
[8:24] If it’s not a “hell, yes,” it is a no
John Over the last two decades, I’ve been on an insatiable quest to learn everything I can about leadership. What makes the best leaders so good? After running companies small and large over the last 20 years, today, I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito. I’m your host, and I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this very topic and what makes the best leaders so good. Welcome to tomorrow’s leader.
John Well, hello there, my tomorrow’s leaders. Welcome back to the show today. Another great episode planned for you. I hope you’re enjoying your year so far as it whips into March on Believable. I’m looking outside my window at the tree in my front yard. That’s blooming. It’s good. It’s got flowers and stuff on. It looks really nice. I love this. This time of year starts to get fantastic. Goodbye. Zero-degree weather. And yes, I’m in North Carolina. We didn’t really have that here, but I traveled a ton and experienced the zero-degree weather effect where your entire body is frozen and pins sticking into your face and just it’s painful. So warm weather is to come upon us soon.
John Okay, first things first. Well, I don’t have any guesses yet on last week’s last episode’s riddles. Do you know why? Because they just recorded the episode about an hour ago. So that’s why you haven’t even gotten a chance by the time I’m recording this to let me know. Hence, I do not have any guesses for you, so keep guessing. But I will tell you today’s riddle. So today’s Riddle. Want to mix it up a little bit again here. Now, the answer to a couple of riddles ago was a chain, if you remember that was I am strong as steel yet have holes.
John And the answer was a chain. So in the spirit of a chain, here’s a chain riddle for you. A horse attached to a 24-foot chain wants an apple that is 26 feet away. He reaches the apple and munches on it. No problem. How is that possible? Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo. A horse attached to a 24-foot chain wants an apple that is 26 feet away. He reaches the apple and munches on it. No problem. How is that possible? Okay. Send your guesses to me. You know how to do that. And I will announce your name and your address and phone number. And Social Security number. And bank account number. On this podcast, this podcast broadcasts out to 91 different countries, and I will do my best to make you famous.
John Okay, so let’s get into today’s topic. Last time I shared with you the 3 to 1 rule, which is an easy, simplified way to make your day more productive and be more intentional and deliberate with how you spend your day. I want you to come out. I want this year to be the best year you’ve ever had, ever. And this is one great way to do it. Take control over your day, be super, super intentional, and come out of it with the plan that you have that somebody else has for your day. So 3-2-1, really simple. The three critical things I want to get done today are… It doesn’t matter if these don’t have to be big things, but they’re important to you. They could take two or 3 minutes, even one of them. And it’s quick, but it won’t happen unless you make it a priority. So the 3 to 1 rule is what are those three things that are most important? Let’s get two of them done before noon and then the other one done afternoon. Your day will be fantastic. You’ll feel great. Your afternoon will feel great because you have two of those things done.
John So here’s the second part of this. This is the critical thing, is in order to be able to say yes to the right things, you have to say no to the wrong things. You have to you have to have to have to. And unfortunately, most people are not good at saying no, they’re just not. We’re asked to do something. We say, yes, an idea comes to us and we feel like, okay, let’s take some action on it. There’s something that seems like, okay, if I invest time, hey, this is going to make me money or make things easier or get production going better, or move us in the right direction. But we don’t realize or think enough about the cost or the expense of doing that. There’s always a cost. If I invest time, it’s the opportunity cost. What else could I have been doing with that time? Doesn’t matter if I’m bringing a return from what I’m investing time in, it doesn’t mean it’s a great investment. Just like anything else. If I invest $10,000 and I make a buck, that doesn’t mean it’s a great investment. If I invested a dime and I made a buck, it does. But it’s all based on what I’m putting into it, right, versus what I’m getting out of it. So the concept is we have to be great and better at saying no and I’m guilty. And raising my hand right now saying I’ve not always been good at this at all. I’ve been horrible at times, periods of time in my life taking on too much stuff. And this happened actually not that long ago.
John I remember when I had left my nice cushy corporate role back in Boston to start my business doing leadership consulting. This was back three years ago and one of my hidden passions and things that I’ve always thought about how this would be really cool to get into is voiceover work. I wanted to be a voiceover artist. I wanted to do lots of things. I wanted to be the movie promo guy who starts variety. The theater knew you. I wanted to do anything. I don’t know whatever it was. And I’ve done a lot of studying and looking at how to get into that business. I just thought it was kind of cool. I call it whether it was a side hobby or something, do it in retirement, whatever. Well, I had an opportunity when I first launched my business to do an audiobook and I thought, Wow, that’d be phenomenal. I’d love to do an audiobook on Audible, which I use Audible. Fantastic. So it was literally to narrate audio and a book and I’m like, What a cool project. What a great way to kind of break into this and learn this business. And so I and it was like, it wasn’t a lot of money. It was like 500 bucks to do this book. And I’m thinking, okay, I’m, you know, whatever. A lot of money, not a lot of money, but I’m thinking, okay, it’s 500 bucks to do it. It’s not for the money, really. It’s for the experience. Cool. And I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy thing, but I’m like, okay, well, how long would it take me to read a book? Well, a lot longer than I would have thought. It took me to do this audio narration It actually took me I can’t even tell you how many hours it took me.
John And once I started, I couldn’t stop because I had a commitment. I made a commitment like you submit your voice and then they select you and you agree to terms and this and that, and you got to deliver this final product. So I, I had no idea what I was doing. I literally had no idea what I was doing. I was learning the software system, Adobe or premiere. I was learning all this kind of stuff and I’m trying to. Figure this thing out as I go. It took me, I’m going to tell you, probably 100 hours and it was an ungodly amount of time. I mean, it was literally just it took me so much. I don’t remember exactly how much, but it was something like that. And I finally got it done. And the. The dummy, knucklehead, whatever, never even paid me. So that was the end. Kind of a scam artist. I look them up afterward, which I sort of look them up before. So I never got paid for it, which was disastrous. I wish you could hear it because it would be really cool. But now it’s not even out. There was, I don’t know, whatever. So it was a futile task, but. I will say I learned a lot, but it took a lot of time and it took time away from other stuff I could have been doing now. I was working like crazy trying to build my business, and this was one of the things that I thought would be kind of a cool little side thing, and it just swallowed up so much time. It slowed me down at a time. I didn’t want to be slowed down at all.
John The bottom line is sometimes we take on these projects, we take on stuff, Sometimes we just think it’s going to be less time and it ends up being more whatever it is. But here’s something I learned Great, a great book I’ve talked a lot about, about essentialism. Greg McQueen Great, great book. If you haven’t gotten a chance to read it. And one of the things that he talks about in that book is the concept of if it’s not a hell yes like if your answer to doing it is not hell, yes, don’t do it. And that’s the concept here that I want to talk about, is you have to really be good at saying no. If it is not an obvious yes, you have to say no and you have to as leaders, you got to teach your people to do this, too. And you’ve got to be on the lookout for those things that are really times sucks, that are taking people so much time, that are bringing so little return. I see this in organizations all the time. Talented people are wasted because they are asked or told to do something that is taking a lot more time than the leader even realizes and bringing very, very little return. Very little return. I see. I cannot tell you how much I see this. So as leaders, you have to be inspecting that and you’ve got to ask people. Sometimes they won’t even want to tell you how much time it’s taken them because it feels like it’s a reflection on them and they’re not, you know, adept enough to get it done faster. But the bottom line is you have to ask people, hey, realistically, how much time is this taking us or you? What’s the commitment? Cause you’re investing money, time, and resources, but it’s taking away from other things that you can be doing.
John So whether it’s you or your people, it’s not enough to get it off your plate and put it on somebody else’s plate. This is the person that’s in your organization. So what else could they be doing? One thing is to get off your plate. Yes, but if it’s not a hell yes, don’t do it. Okay. Absolutely. I think about meetings. You know, a lot of us are invited to a lot of leaders, invited to tons of different meetings. And sometimes people just want your opinion on something. But I think, you know, the average meeting that it seems like the typical kind of default meeting is an hour. Why isn’t an hour like there’s nothing that you can’t get done in 45 minutes that you would have gotten done in an hour? There’s nothing you can’t do in an hour that you can’t do in 45 minutes. Why are meetings half an hour? Why are they not 15 minutes? If a half an hour meeting is enough, when I want to do a 15-minute meeting, I put a half an hour meeting on the books. Just think about the time that you’re putting in. And most of the time, you know, when you have a meeting in your call, in a meeting with a bunch of people, if it’s more than three people, you got to really ask yourself, why do I have that many people in a meeting? I mean, truly, is there am I really reliant on everybody in there is critical that everybody’s in that meeting now. Sometimes you got to have a sales meeting, you got a business unit meeting, you’ve got to have a leadership meeting, a team meeting, a whole organization meeting. You’ve got everybody in there, you’re delivering information, critical news, whatever.
John Of course, you’ve got your normal stuff like that. But there are a lot of times when I just see people setting meetings with just too many people involved and you don’t have to say yes. So if you’re asked or invited to do something, it’s your responsibility. And if you’ve got a boss, you got to tell your boss, Hey, I can do this. But here’s what you have to understand. If I say yes to this, here’s what I’ve got to say no to, or here’s what will be compromised. So you just have to understand that it’s your responsibility to lead up to your boss and that situation. Okay. I would want that right. If I’m leading people, I’d want that person to tell me, hey, because otherwise I just think that they’ve got the capacity to do something. And again, if it’s taking longer than it should, you’ve got to let them know that too. You’ve got to let them know. Bottom line is, though, this is about you and your ability to say no to the wrong things and to say yes to the right things. Okay. This episode goes hand in hand with the last episode that you just listen to. In order to make room for those three critical things, you have to say no to the wrong things. You’ve got to figure out how to time-block them and do them in less time, whatever the case is. That’s really critical.
John So again, in Greg McQueen’s words, if it is not hell, yes, it is a no. All right. So words for wisdom today. Share it a little bit to get the wheels turning. I hope that helps. Again, reach out to me. If I can help in any way, please let me know as always, like share, subscribe, and all that kind of good stuff. Go down below, and give a five-star review. I appreciate you. I love you. I will see you next time.
John Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching, reach me at John@johnlaurito.com. Thanks, lead on!