Saying no is difficult for me. I want to do everything! I want to help everybody! Helping people makes me feel good. I love the variety of opportunities that I have every day, and I love the way I feel when I say yes!
Unfortunately, I don’t love how I feel when I am stuck doing a job I don’t like or want to do anymore. And, I’ll tell you a secret, sometimes I feel this way!
There are a couple of options here.
- Say no when I am asked to do something. (This is practically impossible as I love the way I feel when I say yes more than I hate the way I feel when I’m doing something I don’t want to do!)
- Ask myself is this the best use of my time and do I really want to this? (Again, unfortunately, given my nature, I may think ‘no,’ but I say “yes”!)
Let me analyze this a bit here. Much of my time is spent doing things because I did them in the past. These things are no longer something I want to do, they are an obligation. I feel trapped because I don’t have any other ideas than to continue doing what I’m doing.
If you’re like me, you might want to try a tool taught to me by one of my clients. This client is a venture capitalist and before he commits to any new project, opportunity, or job, he decides on an exit strategy. He plans how he will leave the current opportunity when the time comes. He is in the business of investing in new projects, so he is in a constant state of needing to exit so that he can continue to create new opportunities.
I have taken my client’s lesson to heart. I now think of an exit strategy before I commit. I plan an exit strategy before I say yes. If it is appropriate, I communicate this plan so there are not expectations of me that I do not want. If it is not appropriate, I write down my long-term plan and my exit strategy and review it monthly, adjusting it as needed, but not adjusting for expectations! I adjust so that I can continue to accept new opportunities without feeling obligated to stay in the past.
You may have heard about my #15 Coaches Legacy Project. Existentially, 15 Coaches is my exit strategy. I know I won’t be here forever. What do I want to accomplish before I “leave”? What do I want to do now so that when I am 95 years old and I look back on my life I don’t say, “I wish I would have” or “why didn’t I do that?”
I want to mentor 15 people, to teach 15 people everything I know! There is no cost for this mentoring. In return, these 15 people will have to commit to teach 15 people everything they know when it is their turn. It is my hope that this exit strategy will help hundreds or even thousands of people! If you would like to get involved or learn more details about the 15 Coaches Legacy Project, please visit http://www.marshallgoldsmith.com/15-coaches/.