Recently, my cohort was asked to think about whether “leadership comes from saying the words ‘yes’ or ‘no’.” After first reading the prompt, I honestly didn’t even get what the question was asking, hence why it has taken me a whole week to even write this post.
I let this question sit in my head for days as I tried applying it to my life and to the leadership positions I have been in. How many times have I said no? Has it helped me become a better leader? What about famous people? What famous leaders said “no”?
BOOM. That was when it hit me. Leadership comes from saying “no!”
Many of our nations greatest leaders were the ones who refused to conform to what the world was telling them. One of the greatest leaders who comes to my mind is Rosa Parks. Rosa Parks did not let anyone tell her what to do because she was a colored woman thus leading to her title as “the first lady of civil rights”. Her will to say no led her to become an amazing leader of her time.
Sometimes, especially for me, saying no sounds so mean and sometimes I shy out of saying no because I don’t want people to dislike me. And that is what we call a people pleaser. Dr Caren Aviv says “people pleasing is looking externally for affirmation, acceptance, and approval, rather than looking inwards”.I’m over living like that. How am I supposed to grow as a leader when I just conform to what everyone else says. As a leader, it is my job to stick up for what I am passionate about and say no to the things that I do not support. Saying no leads you to push yourself to become stronger and more independent in what you believe in.
So from here, I invite you to look back on your life and how many times you let the word “no” stop you from sticking up for your passions and how many times you let the word “no” empower you and help you grow. Because when you start saying “no” to more things, I promise some serious growth will come out of it.