What do you say YES to?

I get asked to speak, mentor, write and do cool stuff every week. Some of it is COMPLETELY amazing – I’ve recently been to the Romanian Embassy for supper with the Ambassador (as you do, no jokes about Fererro Rocher please!)  and am off to have afternoon tea with F W De Klerk this month. What a joy to have these experiences! But it is very possible for me to get caught up in doing stuff that doesn’t necessarily contribute to my key aims – and we all have limited time so what do you say yes to and what do you have to reluctantly say no to?

It’s very very easy.  You all know one of my favourite books is Will It Make The Boat Go Faster by Ben Hunt-Davis MBE, and it is straight forward enough to apply the central principle of the book to this question – will the opportunity contribute to my goals for Diamond or won’t it? If it won’t I can’t do it. I simply can’t say yes to everything so that means some stuff has to slide.

So a public speaking event probably does help the good ship Diamond go a little faster, but taking on individual client mentoring probably doesn’t (as much as I love it). Does a deal with a big supplier help my business or is it a distraction from my goals?  Is a joint venture going to work, or is it not going to provide the kind of return on my time that I need?

It is very difficult in business (and particularly as entrepreneurs when we love an ‘opportunity’) to stay focused.  But it all starts with super clear goals.  I have only one real goal at present – and that is in pursuit of my £40m revenue by 2018 so unless it PARTICULARLY contributes to this the answer is no.

Now this can be tough.  And I have to be disciplined.  For example I had the opportunity to test drive 8 luxury cars including an Aston Martin, a Bentley and a Lamborghini – none of which I have driven before – and I am a proper petrol head, but I had to decline it as it clashed with my round the UK trip.  Now I COULD have changed my schedule. After all I am my own boss. But if I am flaky with my timetable – and put my pleasure in front of my business goals – then does it support making the Diamond boat go faster? No. So I gave the opportunity to Dan and Sandra – and they have the grins and the photos to prove it.

Say YES to the things that specifically assist you in your key goals. Say no to everything that moves you away from them. Be disciplined and be tough – and focus on that one goal.  For those of you who haven’t read Will It Make The Boat Go Faster it is one of my favourite books, so for your Christmas reading I strongly suggest you read it.  Get focused and it will be really clear as to what you say yes to and when you have to, albeit reluctantly, pass an opportunity by.  See you soon.