Saying no is not enough, you have to say no fast
if the contents don’t matter, don’t take the time to open it
My wife is wicked smart and she has incredible focus. She is from Boston so she says everything fast, but in her work, the thing she says the fastest is no. No to new clients, no to new hires, no to new partnerships — because they are not in alignment with her strategy or current needs and beliefs about the future.
EXAMPLE: 13 or 14 years ago, she decided that being a lawyer might be a great opportunity. She prepared and took the LSAT and spent a lot of time talking to lawyers and law students about their work, their aspirations and why they were dedicated to practicing law (or to getting the law degree). Over the course of these conversations she became convinced that she would NOT like to be a lawyer or go to law school. When her LSAT scores came in the mail, she threw them out — UN-OPENED.
I could not believe it (and would have needed to know). But she said looking would be a distraction.
A) She would have great scores and be tempted to apply to the top schools — and be drawn toward something she already knew was not for her
B) She would not have done as well as she hoped and would wonder if she “could be a lawyer” instead of knowing that she didn’t want to be one
The best founders all do this. A start-up is a race against the clock and the only way to win is to have maniacal focus on the few things that will move the company forward — your plan is clear and you are working to validate and de-risk your hypothesis — say no quickly and often. Do not get caught in the trap of “opening the envelope” and being distracted by the new opportunities that lie inside when you have already decided they are not the right path for you or the company.
Stay focused my friends. In the early days, the business is probably too fragile to survive distraction.