That’s right, Tim Ferriss just rocked my world in a big way. Let me explain…
Have you ever said yes to something and felt that sickening ick in the pit of your stomach because deep down inside you know you really wanted to say no? And then – because the universe is a trickster – everything that could go wrong did, reminding you why you should have just said no but…
…you didn’t and chances are it’s happened more than once. Last week I read something by Tim Ferris that totally shifted my “no” in a really big way.
Tim Ferriss writes in this 5200+ word blog post How to Say “No” When It Matters Most (or “Why I’m Taking a Long ‘Startup Vacation’”), his thoughts about investing, overcoming FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and reducing anxiety. I thought it might be helpful for you to see what I took away from the 9 key points he made in his blog:
1.) Are you doing what you’re uniquely capable of, what you feel placed on earth to do? Or can you be replaced?
In the case of Tim’s blog, he is realizing that being a venture capitalist is taking up an abundance of time, and it is something he is easily replaceable at – anyone with money can invest in a start up. They may not bring the same wisdom to the table as Tim, but at the end of the day, he is replaceable.
The question to ask yourself is, “What is eating away at your time that you could eliminate in order to spend more time doing what fuels you?”
In my case, I am getting really clear about the things that are taking too much time away from what I love doing and I am finding ways to eliminate those things from my business. This is one of the reasons I stopped doing deep dive social media training – there are LOTS of people who do it really well, and my gift is in helping you solve business problems and better leverage social media.
2.) How often are you saying “Hell Yeah”?
Tim says if what you’re considering doing in your business feels less than “Wow,” then the answer to taking that work should be no. He references a great essay by Derrick Sivers where he wrote, “When deciding whether to commit to something, if I feel anything less than, ‘Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!’ – then my answer is no.”
I say yes to Blabs, podcasts, speaking engagements, and random conversations with people too frequently. It used to be that I sought out people – now I am being sought out on a rapid and regular basis. That creates many “opportunities” for others, which are really just distractions for me. For the health of my own business, I have to be more discerning about this.
3.) How much of your life is making versus managing? And how do you FEEL about that?
Re-evaluating your schedule, how you spend your time, what you’re creating and how much value it brings to your community needs to be considered every time you say, “Yes.” For example, reading and writing all the notes from Tim’s post was a HUGE creative shift for me, and doing that led to making this blog post so it was creative time well spent. Creative work isn’t possible in 30-45 minutes stolen from the time you spend managing your business. You need to plan 3-5 hour blocks where you can think, strategize and create in your business – and you need them a couple times a week.
Next year, this will be part of my calendar – my calls will start a bit later in the day to allow for morning creative work and one morning a week will be blocked just for me to work ON the business instead of IN the business.
4.) Which blessings in excess have become curses? Where do you have too much of a good thing?
In Tim’s case, he has too many VC opportunities. In my case, I have too many emails and too many Facebook notifications. This much-needed blessing of being “seen” has also turned into a major time suck and distraction from what matters most. What matters most to me is being accessible and available to serve and support my clients. I don’t want to miss their email because my inbox is inundated with spam. I don’t want to miss what is going on with them, and my ability to observe and give feedback because I am mindlessly consuming other people’s content. Social media is a great way to build your business when done with intention. Without intention, it clouds creativity and creates unproductive “busy-ness” in life.Sales generated in #business, are rarely generated via “busy-ness”. Click To Tweet
5.) What are you investing in anyway?
Allocating resources like time, money, and energy, improves the quality of your life. To quote Tim, “Life favours the specific ask and punishes the vague wish.”
This statement is incredible and it bears repeating – life favours the specific ask and punishes the vague wish.
Clarity and the specific ask in business can be difficult – but it’s critical. It’s time to STOP being wishy-washy and to be uber clear on what we want. Saying no to things that do not serve you or your business goals will help you to accomplish this.A wake-up call from @tferriss: Life favours the specific ask and punishes the vague wish. Click To Tweet
6.) Are you fooling yourself with a plan for moderation?
Ferriss says, “It pays to know thyself.” You have to ask yourself where in your life are you good at moderation and where are you an all-or-nothing type who lacks a shut-off switch.
We all have things in our business that we just can’t do in moderation. The key is to know what those things are and creating a plan for dealing with them. What are the things you do in excess that you think you can be moderate with? For me, Facebook is it.
I have to turn all mobile notifications off on my phone so that I don not get sucked into FOMO. It’s important that I am mindful of when I check Facebook so it is not driving how I spend my time but rather I am driving how much time I spend there. I’d rather scan 50 notifications twice a day then 1 notification 50 times.
7.) You say your health is #1… but is it really?
Making health #1 only 50% of the time doesn’t work. It’s an absolute – all or nothing. If it’s only 50% you will find yourself compromising on it at times when it’s most important. This point was a big “AHA” for me. I was blindsided by my own health situation this year and I vowed to take better care of myself and here I am STILL cramming my calendar, and not making time to go for a walk each day. Exercise falls to the bottom of the list; I am NOT prioritizing me because busy work gets in the way.
Next year I this will change. I’ll be walking more when I am back in Florida and I’ll be putting a gym into the basement of our new house so there are no more weather excuses (or fear of being chased by a pit-bull) in my future.
For Tim Ferriss, wealthy guy and author, the answer is yes. For the rest of us, the answers is, “maybe, maybe not.” But, would it kill any of us to take a whole month off? Probably not if you take the time to plan ahead in your business.
9.) Are you having a breakdown or a breakthrough?
In the midst of being overwhelmed, is life not showing us what to should subtract? You have to consider whether or not you’re having a breakdown or breakthrough. If we subtract what life shows us to subtract… what happens? Breakthrough! But sometimes fear gets in the way of subtraction. Tim’s advice to determine if it’s a breakdown or a breakthrough:
Step One: Write down 20% of the activities and the people who cause 80% of your negative emotions. By the way, this will also tell you what you need to subtract.
Step Two: Fear setting exercise. “What is really the worst that could happen if I did what I am considering? And so what? How could I undo any damage?”
Take some time for yourself and try this challenge…
* Write down your what ifs.
* Write down your 20%.
* Make a decision on something you’ve been putting off and challenge the fuzzy “what’s holding you hostage” feeling.
* If not now, when? What does life look like in 6 months? A year? In 3 years?
* Who around you will suffer?
Fear has a way of making us procrastinate or find excuses about how or why not to move forward and to let our business Fraidy Cat rule our lives. My book is a great example – it was hard to write and I may have even procrastinated a little bit. Now I’ve got a great book outline that will make writing my next book much easier.
You’re welcome to download the outline if that has been a project you’ve been putting off –> lisalarter.com/outline
The blog Tim Ferriss wrote generated some huge “AHA” moments for me, what about you? Do any of these things resonate with you? Do you feel like you have a bit more power over your no? I’d love to know your biggest takeaway in the comments.
Founder and CEO of the Lisa Larter Group, master strategist, author, speaker, podcast host, social media expert, consultant, and business coach. Lisa inspires entrepreneurs and business owners to see the possibilities for their organizations when it comes to strategy. She uncomplicates modern marketing and creates (and implements) strategies for businesses that are guaranteed to increase visibility, inbound leads, and revenue.