Like the writer of the article below, so many of us at Middlebury strive to constantly please one another. While the intentions behind the virtue of making others happy is one to be highly commended, it can often lead to unnecessary business and unwanted stresses for us as individuals.

Are there things in your life and work that you can say ‘no’ to?

At Middlebury we have an incredible culture that supports the many amazing ideas of individuals.  This culture is very special to Middlebury and it is one that so many of us are grateful for. However, this culture can also lead to a prioritization and over-commitment problem that seems to be systemic to Middlebury.  Maybe we can all learn a little from the article below and try to say ‘no’ to some things this week, month, and year? Trying new things is important and allows for new passions and successes to be discovered…but are there things that you are already doing just because “it’s how you’ve always done it” that you can let go of?

Below is an excerpt from the recent Why You Have to Get Better at Saying ‘No’ article from Entrepreneur Magazine. 
Please click here to read the whole article by Michael Hess of Entrepreneur Magazine 

“Shame on me for putting my desire not to disappoint ahead of my responsibility to my business. Lesson learned? Nah, I still do stuff like that all the time. I’m bad at saying no—a terrible problem to have in business.

Making people happy has always been among my highest priorities, a point of pride. I don’t do it to be a hero; I don’t even do it for gratitude. I do it because I think it’s right and good. But one of the hardest lessons I’ve learned in more than 20 years of running businesses is that the need to please can be a real handicap, and that it is, in fact, possible to care too much.

Don’t get me wrong: I will never stop believing that a desire to make customers, employees and stakeholders insanely happy—and building a culture that facilitates that—is the highest calling of business ownership and the richest soil for growing a successful company. But the nuances here are desire vs. need, as well as the differences between happiness, satisfaction and approval.

The trouble starts when you feel that you must make someone happy or satisfy whatever wish or need they may have or, worst of all, elicit approval of your actions. Good leadership puts a priority on making the right (or at least best possible) decisions and accepting that they might not make everyone happy, much less win everyone’s approval. When possible, you should try to please—perhaps even bending the rules a bit to do so, as you would when trying to satisfy a customer—but never at the expense of doing what you know to be best for the company overall. If you believe an action will hurt the company, just say, “No.”

Those who don’t like it, well, won’t like it. Allow for that and move on.”