Some people think writing, designing, planning, strategy or other things are the single hardest things to learn to do. They’re all wrong. You want to know what the single hardest thing to learn to do is?
When was the last time you tried to say no to a client, an exec, the creative director… or moreover, people in your life? Some people whine with the best of them though in the end they end up doing the things they initially said no to because they’d given a soft “no”, a “maybe”, an “I don’t think so”… but not a firm blunt no.
This is not to say you’ll always say no or say no to everything… that’s childish and although many professionals are prone to this, if you push enough, they’ll do it just to shut you up… me included. You see, I’m still learning to say no… it’s an ongoing process and it’s hard as hell because there’s a very vivid part of me that wants to please, that wants to solve the situation, that wants to fix things… still, I’m learning to say no… and I just did say no to a freelance project. I gave one reason, though there are multiple. Still, I said no, a firm no, thank you and passed.
In times where you can’t afford to pass up work, I did, because on this occasion, I had to for several reasons. It’s not easy. Some people are shitty pay, some work sucks, some people are rude, yet still, you can easily of think of something where you need the money and you’re tempted into being generous, or just plain stupid.
I said no… it doesn’t happen often in my life, though when I do say it… I mean it.
That’s because a no in this situation to whom I said no to, was a yes for me. For peace of mind, for professionalism, for a few days off, for quality time, for health and for the sake of thinking of myself for a change.