We Are Sunshine

Learn to Say No

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2024

By Scott Nichols

The hardest thing that I face every day is having the ability to say the word “no”! I struggle with this because if I feel I can help someone, I want to help them. It’s not until after the fact that I realize the time and commitment it might take. At this point it’s too late. Usually when I say yes, my calendar fills up fast and my stress level goes through the roof! It doesn’t help when my wife tells me how I create my own problems – she’s right.

I want to share with you a few items that have caused me stress. This is my life from the last six months to present: I coach both of my kids competitively in soccer. I have practices four nights a week and games on the weekend that require travel across the state. I was on the soccer board but resigned, and I will discuss the reasoning later in the article. I decided to help my kid’s school district with a referendum (which usually goes against my personal and political beliefs). Lastly, on top of it all, running and owning a business! Oh, wait there’s one more item: a monthly column for Smart Tan Magazine (to be honest, it’s actually one of my stress relievers!).

I get myself into binds all the time. My weeks fly by and weekends even faster. It feels like yesterday was slow season and last month was busy season. Some days my mind is on work while I am coaching soccer and other days it’s vice versa. Some days I feel like giving up and other days I feel like taking a nap! I think you understand my point and some of you can relate. Others might be asking why I do this all, and I can tell you that is a great question. I don’t think I have a simple answer for you, but I hope to at least answer how I try to do it.

I want to share with you three small but very important things I have learned. I have attached real life examples to these. My goal is to help you, and the best way I can do this is by using examples of what I have gone through. So here you go!

Get a calendar! You can use your phone or carry around a small pocket calendar. I prefer my phone because of all the benefits of an electronic calendar. I use my calendar for many purposes such as appointments, tasks and most importantly brainstorming – I’ll explain later.

I think for most of us we know that a calendar and appointments go hand and hand. You would think we wouldn’t need to spend a lot of time on this but there is one more important thing you can do with your appointments. Keep like-minded meetings together and try to keep them all within a 24-hour window.  Here’s an example of what I mean: Let’s say you have an issue with lotion sales. I would be setting up a meeting with key employees, a meeting with some marketing/outside sales reps and a meeting with my distributor. I would try to have all three of these meeting within 24 hours of each other. I would first set up my meeting with my distributor to see what lotions they are selling the most of, and then ask and listen for their advice. I would follow up with a meeting with my staff and let them know the game plan to move forward. Hopefully, you can share with them any advice your distributor gave you. After working with your staff, I would meet with any advertisers to help assist in sales – this would include your own social media pages. Remember, all of these meeting would have taken place within 24 hours.

If you are like me, jotting down tasks is important. If I need to call someone tomorrow or run to a store, I make sure I put it on my calendar. This is pretty basic but a great tool to use.

But I think one of the most important features I use my calendar for is brainstorming. I might be at the grocery store and get an idea from something they’re doing or listening to a podcast and come up with an idea. Those ideas turn into many other ideas and the last thing I want is to lose them. So, I will open my calendar, select a time that I know I will be available to go through these ideas, and then I just start typing. Once I’ve jotted down all my ideas, I carry on with the day. The best part is when my calendar goes off later that afternoon or the next day I can continue to work on my ideas. Many ideas have been born from doing this, and I recommend you start doing the same.

The last feature is one of my favorites and the basic foundation of the electronic calendar: the reminders! I can jot down many things on a sheet of paper or in an email, but most of the time I forget about it. The reminders have saved my “you know what” many times. Life gets busy and I’m bound to forget something. It’s important to make this part of your daily routine.

Clear out the junk! I resigned from our soccer board for one simple reason – it brought way too much junk into my life. It was non-stop and started to have an impact on my work and family life. My life was starting to get stressful and it was difficult to identify what was causing it. I narrowed it down to being on the soccer board. It wasn’t the meetings, as we only met once a month and committee meetings met maybe twice a month at the most. It was all the junk that came with it.

The junk I’m talking about is all the text messages that were going on. I was part of at least five or six different group text messages. I was receiving text messages as early as 6 a.m. and as late at 11 p.m. My phone was going off during work and it was going off when I was at home spending time with my family.  This was going on seven days a week. Here is the kicker: The majority of the text messages had nothing to do with my role on the board. But since I was part of the group messages, I received everything. I found myself worrying and doing things that I had no responsibility doing, but I got sucked in, and once you are sucked in, you are a part of everything!

By clearing out the junk, I was able to concentrate and spend more time on the tanning salons. To this day, I am still happy with my decision. I miss being in the middle of it and knowing what’s going on, but at the end of the day I find myself more productive with less stress.

Accomplishments feel great and they’re addictive! In October of 2020, I was asked to be on a task force by the superintendent of my kids’ school district. This task force was to give a recommendation to the school board about an upcoming referendum in the spring of 2021.

In January of 2021, the superintendent asked if I could like to “quarterback” an action group to help pass the referendum. I said on one condition: If the school district will lower the tax levy rate, then I would be willing to do so. So, in other words, if we pass the referendum to spend more money on facilities, there would still be room to lower the tax levy rate to help offset property tax. They agreed and I became part of the action group.

From January – April 6, I helped lead a team of community members to get the word out and help pass the referendum. On the night of April 6, we successfully passed the referendum. It was a huge accomplishment, and I’m still proud of it today.

This accomplishment felt great, and because of that, I will help out again. I want to help again because we accomplished what we set out to do. To me, this was much different than the soccer board, and I will give you some examples:

  • Action team for the referendum was roughly 90 days vs. soccer board two years.
  • Referendum had a major goal vs. soccer board I was putting fires out.
  • With the referendum we won vs. soccer board there’s just doing and a lack of accomplishments.
  • The win for the referendum became addictive vs. soccer board I felt overburdened by all the group text messages.

If you are going to get involved with anything, make sure you have victories and accomplishments. It’s what drive you to come back and help again.

This works the same for you and your salons as well. Once you start accomplishing victories with certain parts of your life, you will want to accomplish victories with every part of your life. This turns into accomplishing victories in every part of your business as well. Let’s say your sales are up for the month and you are pretty excited about it. You start digging into your numbers and you see your services are up, lotion sales are up, but your EFTs are down. If you are like me, this will bug you until your EFTs are where they need to be.

Accomplishments are very addictive, and I encourage you to keep putting yourself in these situations.  It might take a few times to find victory, and that is a good thing. You want challenges, because the harder the challenge, the sweeter the victory.

I want to end this article with this: Know the difference between stress and working hard. Some might think to lower stress you need to work less, stop advancing (promotions) and not take too much on. If this is what you got out of the article, I hope you read it again. It’s okay to work hard and be busy. I would rather be doing this versus just sitting around doing nothing. I am hoping that you are able to use the advice I have given you so you can work harder, you can get the promotion and you can help out in your community. I still say yes, but now I have learned to say no, too. It’s not always easy but definitely worth it in the long run. I believe in you, and I know you got this!