“Try to live your life so that you’ll have no regrets. No matter how hard, no matter how sad, if something is precious to you, protect it with both arms.” – Unknown
As leaders, we are challenged each day to say “yes” to ever-increasing responsibilities.
We’re charged to say “yes” to increasing sales with less time and fewer marketing dollars. Our answer must be “yes” to serve more patients, increase test scores, respond to more emails and grow market share. We’re encouraged to say “yes” to community service, expand our networks, enroll our children in perpetual activity, support aging parents and grow individually.
My friend, in order to be most impactful, effective and influential as leaders: we must not only master the word “yes,” but also the word “no.” Let me share my favorite example.
Born into a life of privilege, William Borden was destined to take over and lead the family empire of businesses.
He graduated from Yale in 1907, but rather than follow the path so clearly orchestrated for him by others, he chose to travel the world as a simple missionary serving the poor.
While working in Egypt, he contracted spinal meningitis. Three weeks later he was dead. William was 25.
His belongings were sent to his parents, including the bible he received after graduating from high school. There were three simple, profound notes in the bible that had guided his life. The first was:
It was William’s reminder to give of himself completely each day. He made this note as he ended one chapter of his life (high school) and began the next (university).
Similarly, the second note read:
After committing to a path that would lead him away from the family business and toward the poor of the world, this was William’s mantra. It guided him from a life of luxury toward serving those with the greatest needs.
The final note was dated a few days before his death. Knowing the end was near, he wrote:
There was no turning back on the journey. He knew that he had found his purpose in life and pursued it fully. He remained clear on what was worthy of living for, fighting for and dying for.
My friend, each day we have the opportunity to build the kind of business we want, relationships we enjoy and life we desire.
But before we can do this, we must first be clear on what matters most to us, protect it with both arms and raise our voice with a profoundly simple life mantra:
No Reserves. No Retreats. No Regrets.
When you are clear on what matters most to you, what your roadblocks are and have a road map boldly guiding you toward your goals: that is when you will build the business, relationships and life that you want.
My Ignite Life Today program was created to help you do just that. Ignite your Life Today.
Here’s an awesome blog by Seth Godin on the same topic: No is essential.