“Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.” -Steve Jobs
“When you say yes to something you don’t want to do, here is the result: you hate what you are doing, you resent the person who asked you, and you hurt yourself.” -James Altucher, book The Power Of No
“If it’s not a ‘Hell Yes!’, then it’s a No.” -Derek Sivers
They don’t know your priorities.
They don’t know your values.
They don’t know your commitments and obligations.
They don’t know your health or financial situation.
They don’t know your hopes and dreams or your passion projects.
Nor should they. It’s not their job to know. It’s not their life.
But you know. (If not, you better.)
That way, when people who don’t know, ask you to do something, you have clarity. You can make the best possible decision for you and for them.
Just remember though, if you want to get anything big done, anything that’s excellent and lasting and worthwhile, you’re gonna have to say “No.” A lot.
Don’t worry about hurting people’s feelings. Just be clear and up front as to why you’re passing. And if you’re struggling with the decision because it’s something you’d really like to do and they’re someone you’d really like to work with, remind yourself and them that’s it’s not “No” forever. It’s just “No” for right now. If it’s meant to be, the project will come back around. Or something even better.
And if they can’t understand your “No”, then why would you want to work with them in the first place? Are they really a friend or valued colleague?