It’s not easy to say no, but it’s a lot easier than getting out of it later

September 15, 2021

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Three-ish years ago, I sat at a coffee shop with a friend who ran her own law firm. At the time, I was working with clients in their offices on office organization/workflows.

We were talking about an offer I had from a guy who ran multiple decent-sized companies in San Diego. While he wanted a discount due to the large size of the contract, it would be a big, long-term project that would give me a ton of corporate experience. It wasn’t ideal (discounted rates, a guy who seemed a little smarmy), but as a new business owner, the stability and potential open-doors it offered were tempting.

Despite this, my gut was telling me to decline it.

My friend said, “It’s easier to decline a client than to break up with one later.”

I declined the client. And I haven’t regretted it since. In fact, it freed up a lot of my time and brain space to create the program I teach now.

I cannot explain how grateful I am that I declined that client. I still feel a wave of relief wash over me when I think about it.

And this principle applies in the corporate/law/medical world, too: It’s easier to get out of being staffed on a project than to extricate yourself later.

Look, there’s no getting around it: Declining a new project can be hard.

But I find it’s easier to motivate to say “no” when you look down the road and realize it’ll be SO MUCH HARDER to get out later.

So, as work ramps back up now that it’s fall and new opportunities roll in, remember this: It’s not easy to say no, but it’s a lot easier than getting out of it later.

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