No, the Most Important Word to Help You Stay Focused
I just got back from a two-week stay in Vancouver. My wife is Canadian, and we go back there almost once a year to spend time with family.
It was an interesting journey traveling with the three kids. A five year old Bichon, a two-and-a-half year old toddler, and a three month old infant!
It was the first time Didi (Brendan) got on an airplane. 🙂
I don’t know if I could ever live there because it rains in Vancouver almost every day during the winter months. On the rare days that it doesn’t rain, I like to take Ethan for a good 45-minute run.
I love the B.O.B. stroller, and it’s definitely the best baby product that we purchased. Not only is it great for running, but it’s like the SUV of strollers. It goes over everything. You never have to worry about it tipping over when you hit bumps or pushing it over grass.
Ethan is at that stage where he loves garbage cans and trucks.
He didn’t care much for the scenery in Vancouver. He just wanted me to run up back alleys so that he could see all the garbage cans that people have in their back driveways.
My sleep schedule was totally flipped upside down in Vancouver.
Instead of getting up at 3am to work everyday, I would be out with the family the entire day and work from 9pm to 2am! I know many of you are night owls, but I prefer getting up at 3am instead. 🙂
Connecting with a New Entrepreneur
I had an inspiring and happy moment in Vancouver.
I met up with with this man named Brian who always has had an entrepreneurial drive in him. For years he has been saying he wanted to start his own business, but never took the step. Finally, last year he took action, and started his own consulting business with a partner.
I love connecting with new entrepreneurs who want to work for themselves, people who have the ambition to pursue greater things than just working at a job.
While we were catching up over at Bubble Tea in Burnaby (They have a great ginger tea without sugar.), he asked me a very good question.
He asked me for tips on how to stay focused.
Like most entrepreneurs, Brian has tons of ideas and things he wants to do. Focusing can be a challenge. This brings up my lesson for this week.
No Is the Most Important Word in an Entrepreneur’s Arsenal
The secret to staying focused is learning to use the most important word that you have at your disposal. That word is “No.”
Learning to say “No” is the MOST important thing you can do in your business, and as I reflect back on the accomplishments and mistakes that I made over the past year, they have always been due to use or lack of use of the word “No.”
Learning to say “No” is one of the top lessons that I have learned over the years, and you must learn to say “No” more often.
Why Do You Need to Say “No”
There is a time cost to everything.
“No” saves you time in pursuing projects that lead to nowhere.
It saves you the mental energy to do the administrative tasks that distract you from your main goals.
One of the biggest time wasters in life is telling someone “maybe” just because you don’t want to reject them and hurt their feelings.
Saying “maybe” doesn’t clear your mental cache. You constantly feel bad about having to get back to that person.
Eventually you have to say “No” anyway so that you can move on, so you might as well say it up front.
Saying “No” is not only for your benefit. It saves the other person’s time as well, and it prevents you from sending mixed signals.
The sooner you say “No,” the better off you are.
There are obvious situations where you must say “No”.
Say “No” to Activities that Hurt Your Business
If you want to be successful in MLM, you must focus and do the Five Core Daily Production Activities every day.
Anything that takes you away from accomplishing these five things should be given a “No.”
I’m not saying you go all work and no play. You can play, but learn to say “No” before your “homework for the day” is done.
This was a challenge for me when I first started my network marketing business so I wrote something on the five year anniversary of the day I joined my MLM business and taped it on the door of my apartment.
I had told myself I would not quit until I gave the business at least a good effort for five years. Every day, when I left my apartment, I would look up and ask myself whether I was doing something that would help me achieve my goals or take me away from my goals.
Say “No” to Distractions
Distractions hit you hard everyday.
Often these distractions may seem harmless. They can be small things, but in the end they are big.
Distractions are Time Thieves that suck up your time and steal away your dreams.
Another good example is one of my leaders and close friends John Goerlitz, who is an Emerald Director and a six-figure income earner in his MLM business.
John and I used to work together at the NBA and John spent two-and-a-half years building his MLM business part time. Then, one day, he hit the point where he never needed to report to a boss anymore.
One of the keys to John’s success was that he built his MLM business during the nicks and crannies of the day. He would find small chunks of time throughout the day and make prospecting calls. He also devoted his lunch to making extra phone calls.
That meant he had to say “No” to going out to lunch with his colleagues at the NBA.
It was weird for John to be antisocial at first, but he knew that his future was dependent on him making those phone calls, not on those NBA colleagues. The colleagues were good people, but they were never going to pay his bills.
Instead of wasting an hour to socialize at lunch, John would spend ten minutes to eat lunch at his desk and then step out to make 45 minutes of prospecting calls.
Years later, John works for himself, no longer needs a job, just purchased a $630,000 house in Los Angeles that is ten minutes from the beach, and who knows what happened to his former colleagues…
It pays to say “No” and stay focused on goals.
Say “No” to the Negative People
Don’t let the haters into your life.
If they want to be negative and ruin their lives, that’s fine, but guard your life and don’t let them sabotage it.
If someone is negative, critical, or just doesn’t understand your entrepreneurial passion, you can simply walk away from them.
You don’t need to participate in the conversation.
Just say “No!”
Say “No” to Incoming Messages
A big part of my MLM Productivity Regimen is learning to recognize Time Thieves that steal your time and money.
Learn to say “No” to incoming messages, emails, texts, and Facebook notifications that distract your mind from what you are focusing on.
If you are making prospecting calls, turn off your email so that you don’t get distracted by the email that comes in from your friend that asks you to hang out.
Turn off the alerts on your mobile phone. (The “Do Not Disturb” feature on iPhones is a great tool. Learn to use it.)
Say No to Less Obvious Distractions
For disciplined individuals or more advanced entrepreneurs who have been in this game for some time, you may already be good at saying “No” to the obvious distractions.
You already earn income in your business and for you to continue to grow you must learn to say “No” to the less obvious distractions.
You need to say “No” more often to ideas and projects that distract you from the goals you set for the year.
I had to learn this the hard way because I get pitched with business opportunities or projects all the time.
When I look back on the mistakes that I’ve made in my journey through business, every mistake I made is because I was distracted and pursued something that I should not have gone after.
It can be another website or another marketing venture to attract more customers.
Use Goals to Help You Stay Focused
One way to stay focused is to always have your goals in front of you. Be sure to set those goals often.
A big part of my learning process was when I started to not only set yearly goals, but specific quarterly goals that were then broken down into specific monthly, weekly, and daily goals.
Every day before I go to bed, I take time to plan and create the blueprint for the next 24 hours. I do my best to plan every hour of my day so that I can stay focused.
The Eternity App that I talked about in last week’s post about importance of tracking time is valuable because it can give you reports about how you are spending your time.
It helps you to stay on track by letting you know exactly how you are spending every minute of your time.
Examples of Saying “No” to Stay Focused
Here is an example of staying focused and learning to say “No” to new projects that were not part of your quarterly goals.
Recently, I received an extremely generous offer from a 5 Star Mastermind member who offered to help me upgrade my tools and marketing assets for free. His help would not only upgrade my marketing, but also save me time and money to hire and get the technical work done.
However, I said “No.”
I am extremely grateful for his offer to help and I trust him, but I said “No” because upgrading that asset was NOT part of my quarterly goals for this year.
I already have ten other projects that need my attention and even though he was willing to do it for free, it would still take me at least ten minutes to get him the files he needed and maybe another 20 – 30 minutes on the phone.
It may have only taken 40 minutes, but it is still a time cost and a distraction. That is if things get done on time, and we all know that things never get done as quickly as scheduled.
That is how careful you have to be with your time.
Throughout the years I’ve discovered that every time I accomplished something great, it was because I stayed focused and did not wander off doing other side projects.
The product will be eventually updated, but just not right now, so “No” was the best answer.
Saying “No” Does Not Mean You Don’t Work on Side Projects
There is obvious value to dabbling in new projects because otherwise nothing new gets created.
Create a time limit on how much you will spend each day on that new project so that you don’t get too caught up in it.
A great example of how MLM distributors sabotage themselves is being consumed with creating the next great websites that it takes up all their time and they have no energy or time left to prospect.
Websites and social media marketing are all very important to your MLM business, but create time boundaries.
If you are going to work on your website, set a maximum limit of one hour a day so that you still have time for rest of the day to prospect and do the Five Core Daily Production Activities.
Learning to say “No” will play a huge role in determining whether you will achieve the goals you set for this year.
“No” is the most important word you must use in your arsenal.
Learn to use it wisely.
Entrepreneurs like us are go getters and we want to play a role with everything, but the key to success is to focus on one thing at a time.
Learn to say “No” more often this year and you will be pleasantly surprised at how much you will achieve.
P.S. Want to get more done in less time, and not feel overwhelmed with the daily distractions that get in the way of growing your business? Download my free DMO Cheat Sheet Guide here.