Are You Being Selfish Enough to be Successful?

It might seem like a strange question to ask you. How can being selfish make you more successful?

But in a way that was what I was asked at my recent mastermind group intensive. Well at least that was one of the key ‘truffles’ that I came away with after spending 3 virtual days with a great group of coaches and consultants who make up a mastermind group of peers that have now been together for our third year.

A truffle is when you have an aha moment, or something that could well have been staring you in the face suddenly jumps right up and bangs you on the side of the head. It was the first morning of the intensive and I was challenged to come back to the group after lunch with a presentation on why my business had not been doing as well in 2007 as I had hoped or planned.

Initially I frantically did some research on my numbers (never had been a strong point of mine, keeping a finger on the pulse of the business). Then over a quick bite to eat contemplated what it was that was stopping me from being successful?

Then the truffle sneaked up and gave me a whack

I pride myself on being helpful, connected, willing to share information, resources, time, advice, insight etc etc – in fact so much was my desire to be well thought of that I was prioritizing these things ahead of my business.

I was not saying NO.

At the end of the meeting we all presented on what we had got out of the three days and what action steps we were going to commit to in 2008, or at least for the first 90 days.

Normally I come away from these meetings with some new ideas to implement, new tools, new technologies. This time none of that – it was a new way of being. The meeting was in some ways the best that I have attended. In others the worst because we did not get a chance to socialize, have fun, see reactions etc – I look forward to November for that.
But I did come away with a clear set of new ‘rules’ to live by;
  • No and seeing the positive outcome of saying no
  • No to returning to what I had left in my office and business at the start of the week
  • No to more hours for less fun, family, life, balance etc

So for 2008 I am going to say NO more often – if you are a friend, family member, colleague, client, associate you are on notice that I might be saying no, but it is going to be a positive no and I am still the same person.

I am learning the benefit of being incredibly selfish, not in an arrogant way but ensuring that there is time for me, my family and my business. Without that selfishness there will not be a me and that means I won’t be around to attract what is possible for me.

So are you being selfish for you?  Can you stop yourself from saying yes to;

  • those opportunities that are going to be a distraction and drain on your time and take you away from where you should be focused.
  • continuing to be treated disrespectfully or being under appreciated for all that you do for others.
  • doing one more thing and then never having the time to treat yourself to a luxury, a trip or even just some me time.
What do you think?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Daisy Azer

    Paul,
    I totally agree and have a similar goal. The problem with not saying no is that you end up spending all of your time on things that are not at all what you really want to be doing. Anything you choose implies an opportunity cost. What else could I have spent this time on? And it is a funny thing in life but being too accommodating often results in being taken for granted.
    Saying no to the things we don’t necessarily want to do results in the opportunity, time and energy to say YES to what we really want to do!
    Daisy