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  • Amina Aitsi-Selmi

The most dangerously useful word in our work culture

Ever heard of the “No man” or the “No woman”? Probably, not. But you’ve heard of the “Yes man”. You’ve probably also heard of the “doormat”, the “busy bee” and the “headless chicken”. Most people in western culture feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day and live with a sense of overwhelm on a consistent basis. We deprive ourselves of needed time and personal space to make ourselves available to others and to opportunities in fear of missing out or seeming selfish. So your schedule feels bloated with no room to breathe whilst also feeling like you can’t get out of it - a vicious cycle. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can have authentic success, be productive, appreciated and well respected whilst maintaining healthy boundaries and control over how you spend your time and energy. In fact you’re more likely to achieve those things if you do that. Legend in the making: Dr B illustrates this quasi-magical effect. She stopped acquiescing indiscriminately to tasks, projects, meetings and conversations that felt out of alignment for her (the types of things she may have agreed to in the past hoping to be appreciated for her willingness and availability). People in high places started to see her as more of a leader than an employee. She became more assertive and clear across the board; and now she is working to the 2IC (number 2 in command) at the World Health Organisation. Result! The best thing is she has to work less and is achieving more, and there’s no sense of struggle. It’s the state of flow when we’re in alignment with our higher truth, when we’re in integrity with our greatest selves. I’m not saying it’s easy to say “no” at work or in relationships. Otherwise, everyone would be doing it; and it’s why people hire me – to help them through these personal transformations. Indeed, our culture has a very difficult relationship with “No”. It’s like an act of rebellion – you’re reclaiming your individuality and right to have control over yourself to put yourself to use in a better way. We even have public campaigns around it: remember the “Just say no campaign” against drugs; or the sexual education mantra of “No means no”? What’s so difficult about saying “no”? Saying no to a request for help is selfish, irresponsible and lazy, right? It shows weakness and puts your reputation at risk…Great fodder for Imposter Syndrome, too…If we’re trying to prove ourselves, saying “no” will feel like reputational suicide. And yet… “No” is a firm boundary. It’s the verbal sword that cuts through unhealthy interactions and engagements. It protects your time and energy from misuse by unhealthy agendas. It helps us be at home in our minds and bodies and meet people as equals. It may not be easy. It may feel like madness. It may even cut you off from certain opportunities. But they probably weren’t right in the first place. This simple word is the key to healthy work, healthy relationships and authentic success. It’s the doorway to true freedom in the midst of our work and personal lives. Amina

Amina | Be the change

p.s. It’s today! The “How to take an entrepreneurial approach to your career” free webinar. Join us by registering here: Date: 12th of September, 6.30pm UK / 1.30pm EST / 10.30am PST.

I’ll be sharing what I know of the key principles and actions required to become an entrepreneurially minded professional and create authentic success, based on real-life examples including mine! We'll explore:

  • Why you must abandon the employee mindset

  • The building blocks of a strategy for operating as an independent professional collaborating with selected organisations and partners that you choose

  • The key to getting paid for creating socially valuable service propositions (whether within or without a bigger organisation)

  • How to break out of imposter syndrome thought patterns

Hope you can make it!

Next Leaders Circle at Harley Street 27th of September, 6.30pm: Leaders Circle at Harley Street (2 hours): Ticket details to follow. “How to take an entrepreneurial approach to your career”. We’ll dig deeper into the material shared on the webinar.

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