The “Honorable No” & My Challenge to You

Michael Veltri Honorable No

“A ‘no’ uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a ‘yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.”  ~~Mahatma Gandhi  

I love this quote.  I call it the “Honorable No.”  Do you have certain people in your life — a boss, colleague, or loved one perhaps — that you have a hard time saying “no” to?  Are there certain situations that you find easier to just say “yes” because you don’t want to deal with the hassle of what a “no” will produce?  Be careful.  Saying “yes” when you really mean “no” is a dreadful decision.

With the “speed of business” evolving at an exponential rate, the ability to make the right decision — including saying “No!” — at the right time is paramount to the success  and motivation of any organization.  Windows of opportunity open, yet close even quicker in today’s 24/7 hyper-connected, hyper-distracted world. Truly responsible leadership is difficult, and we need fresh and creative ideas to make the best decisions possible — especially when the pace is fast, the stakes are high, and the outcome unclear. 

As a leadership keynote speaker to many successful business audiences, I often challenge them to stop saying “Yes” out of guilt, obligation, or fear and to start practicing the “Honorable No”.  And this is also my challenge to you:  Start implementing the “Honorable No” in your life.  This is an exercise to strengthen your self-awareness “muscle”.  The more self-aware you are, the more your decision-making prowess will increase.  And making better decisions simply means having a better life.

Take Transformation Action NOW:  (1) Print and post the Gandhi quote somewhere you can easily see it for the next week.  (2) Practice the “Honorable No” at work.  Now don’t just be an arrogant jerk and tell your boss to go shove it because you don’t want to do something!  The “Honorable No” is used when, for example, you’re working on a time-sensitive project and a colleague is badgering you for help THIS INSTANT on his project.  Use the “Honorable No” to tell him that you don’t have time now, but can meet with him at (insert a time that is good for you).  (3) Track your “Honorable No-s”.  Jot them down either on paper or electronically somewhere you can see your progress over the week.  

If you need more resources and techniques on how to make better decisions in your business and personal life, please check out my bestselling book on the subject, The Mushin Way to Peak Performance:  The Path to Productivity, Balance, and Success.  Likewise, leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter @mpveltri — I promise to get back to you right away!

Michael Veltri is a battle-hardened entrepreneur, bestselling author, and business transformation keynote expert. Recognizing that our successes, both organizationally and personally, are the culmination of our daily decisions, Veltri elevates organizations and improves business and personal performance through better decision-making practices.  From ancient Japanese warriors to brain science; from business titans to academic research, Michael tapped wide-ranging sources to develop a groundbreaking model for better decision-making. Surprisingly simple and eminently effective, Veltri's approach has impacted some of the most prolific organizations and leaders in the world.  Michael is also a cancer survivor, decorated Marine Corps veteran, and master-instructor in the Japanese martial art of Aikido. He brings his martial arts discipline and precision to every keynote speech inspiring, motivating, and educating audiences worldwide.