How saying ‘yes’ to everything is curtailing your creative impulses



For the better part of my young adulthood, the “yes” or “no” dilemma followed me around like a shadow. I wanted to be involved with as many things as possible, show my openness to new experiences, and, as many who have been there, avoid FOMO, or fear of missing out, at all costs.

Fast-forward to my first year of entrepreneurship, a period that encapsulates a period of important decision-making and critical thinking. It’s also a time where saying “yes” to every opportunity can quickly mean finding yourself without a business.

For the past 14 years of growing my company, JotForm, I’ve had to learn to put my foot down on repeated occasions and prioritize projects that align the best with my vision. This is because, when you save up all those consequential times of saying “yes,” real breakthroughs can happen.

Fortunately, there are ways we can cultivate this ability of prioritization and keep ourselves accountable. Here are three ways to spend time and focus on what truly matters to you.

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable

The more we get acclimated to saying “no,” the more we can reserve our energy for the important “yeses.” It’s a critical skill entrepreneurs should aim to cultivate.

“As we learn to say no to certain projects, we’re left with more room to give an emphatic ‘yes’ to other ones,” writes Cari Richards in The New York Times.

I’d like to offer the following example of my own experience grappling with discomfort. This past October we celebrated the launch of our latest product, JotForm Tables, a tool that allows anyone to manage, track, and organize their data, all in one place. It’s a product we were eager to see out in the world—and one we spent a whopping three years working on.

This fall, my company and I launched JotForm tables, an organization tool for data. It’s a product we were eager to see out in the world, and one we spent three years working on it. When it debuted this October, it felt like a big finish line we had crossed. However, the journey to get us to this milestone was not easy, by any means.

The weeks after its release, we witnessed firsthand how something we spent so much time carefully developing, was now helping to improve the lives of our customers. It’s an indescribable feeling.

But the journey to get us here hasn’t been easy by any means. Saying a wholehearted “yes” to this dream three years ago meant shutting the door to other demands on my time. While it was often tempting to think of putting this project aside and saying “yes” to other opportunities, I kept coming back to my main anchor—to build a company I can be proud of.

To do that, I had to remain patient and firm. And critically, I had to become comfortable with the unknown to pursue what mattered most to me.

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Source: Fast Company

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