When I started my career, as a young, naive 23 year old - I was a Yes (Wo)man.
I said yes to pretty much every opportunity that was presented to me. I volunteered for projects, jumped at extra curricular activities and had the chance to experience and learn new things almost every week. I was that overly enthusiastic and excitable colleague who always lent a helping hand.
A few things naturally happened from there.
1) People started to know who I was in the company. It was a great way for me to naturally network and brand myself. I became a networking magnet
2) As I experienced doing more things, I learnt more about my strengths and weaknesses, what I enjoyed working on (planning & organising), and what I disliked doing (pulling data, working with numbers), what i excelled at, and what I sucked at.
When I had learnt everything I could from the job that I was doing, I was then able to make an informed decision on which job to choose as my next career move to fully utilize my skillsets and maximize my strengths - this eventually lead me to what I absolutely love doing today.
So my advice? Say yes to everything, early on in your career. Having more opportunities will expand your horizons, and you’ll probably still have loads of time and energy to do as much as you want.
When should you start saying No? As you grow a little older, there will inevitably be more commitments and obligations you will have to prioritise. However, by this time, you’ll hopefully have a rough idea of what direction you’d like to take both your personal and professional life to.
So start saying no to things that aren’t important. Start saying no to friends that don’t matter. Prioritise ruthlessly. Once you’ve found your niche and established your forte - saying no doesn’t stop there.
In fact, my guess is that you’re going to be saying no even more - because your time is limited, and you want to make sure you only make time for the most important things in your life AND still have the headspace to make difficult decisions.
“The more you say no to the things that don’t matter, the more you can say yes to the things that do. This will let you live and enjoy your life - the life that YOU want” - Ryan Holiday
Till next month!