by Lori Milner: author, entrepreneur, thought leader and founder of Beyond the Dress
One of the toughest challenges of being an entrepreneur is the constant distraction from many perceived opportunities. We suffer from FOMO in that if we don’t get involved in this project, event, deal, you name it – we’ll lose out. Most of the time, these alluring projects do exactly that – lure us away from our core focus and ultimately this leads to more stress, burnout and lack of balance (not that it exists anyway).
Here are some questions I ask myself when a potential opportunity presents itself and it allows me to very quickly assess whether it is worth pursuing:
- Am I saying yes out of guilt or fear? If so, then it’s a polite no.
- Apply the Marie Kondo method: “Discard [say no to] everything that does not spark joy.”
- Does it energise me personally or creatively?
- Does this excite me?
Towards the end of last year, I was approached to create a new company and run it with a partner. It was a great opportunity but I realized this was someone else’s dream and not mine. It took me about 2 days to craft and refine this email because I wanted to convey my gratitude and appreciation for the opportunity without offending the other person. I am sharing this with you to provide some inspiration should you find yourself in a similar situation:
Email to a potential opportunity declining the offer:
“I’ve given our previous chat much thought and consideration. After many years of establishing Beyond the Dress, I’m finally in a place where I’m doing the work that I love, am the master of my diary and have found a comfortable balance of work and family time and it feels really right. And while I do believe you have an innovative and powerful project, I respect you and your work and I’m honoured that you’ve asked me to participate, I’m going to have to say thank you but I need to decline with gratitude. I hope the space created by my absence is filled by one of the brilliant women in SA.
Thank you again for your thought and interest in me, I know this project is going to be an amazing success. Please can we keep an open dialogue as I am happy to assist with content for this initiative where required. Wishing you a wonderful festive season.”
This was well received with a mutual respect for my decision. So this year, make conscious decisions to do the things that excite you, that spark joy and really energize you.
Here’s to owning your no
LORI MILNER is the engaging facilitator, thought leader and mentor known for her insightful approach to being a modern corporate woman. Her brainchild, the successful initiative Beyond the Dress, is the embodiment of her passion to empower women. Beyond the Dress has worked with South Africa’s leading corporates and empowered hundreds of women with valuable insight on how to bridge the gap between work and personal life. Clients include Siemens, Massmart, Alexander Forbes, Life Healthcare Group, RMB Private Bank and Unilever to name a few. Lori has co-authored Own Your Space: The Toolkit for the Working Woman in conjunction with Nadia Bilchik, CNN Editorial Producer. Own Your Space provides practical tools and insights gleaned from workshops held around the world and from interviews with some of South Africa’s most accomplished women to provide you with tried-and-tested techniques, tips and advice to help you boost your career, enhance your confidence and truly own your space on every level. Own Your Space is the ultimate ‘toolkit’ to unleash your true power. It’s for the woman who wants to take her career to new heights and who is ready to fulfil her true potential.
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