Yes or no? Stand by your principles

Just this morning, I was thinking about why women (myself included) tend to say ‘yes’ to things we do not want to do. What perfect timing because this just so happens to be a topic today in Forbeswoman!

How many times have you attended a function or special event when really you would have rather done something else with your time? Like wash your hair. You felt obligated to a friend, so you showed up. Or a business associate asks you for a favour that is something against your principles and deep down you know it, you don’t want to do it, but you do it anyway – probably to appease them.

Is it because we are conditioned to be nurturers and therefore somewhere in a dark corner of our minds do not want to hurt feelings, or be rejected? I’m not certain there is a black and white answer to this question, but I do believe the more worth and confidence we have in ourselves, the more easily we can make decisions based on what is good for us – and say ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ as appropriate.

I recall years ago one of my mentors telling me to stand by my principles no matter what, which requires saying ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ I strive to do this in my business and in life. However, I am reminded of a situation when a client asked me to provide some information related to my business that I was unwilling to share, because it was against my principles to supply that information they were wanting. I had told this person a number of times that I would not do it, but they pressed for it.

At the time, I came up with what I thought was a compromise: I would provide a portion of what they wanted, but not everything, and if I did that, I would keep the relationship in good standing and I would not compromise myself “too much.”

Too much???!!

It didn’t work.

The reason it didn’t work is because I was pissed off with myself for going again my principles in the first place. Now I realize it would have been better to piss off the other person than to piss off myself, by saying a flat-out ‘no.’

Lesson learned.

Do you stand by your principles? How do you handle it when someone asks you to do something you do not want to do?


© Shannon Skinner 2012