by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated
I hate turning down a job. Being in business for myself, I have to manage my time wisely. There is also the unending tasks of being a mother. Sometimes, I have to tell my family no too. Ultimately, it comes down to quality. Whether we aim to produce a first-rate product for our clients, or be a top-notch mom, saying no once in a while may be the only way to achieve our goals.
So everyday we make choices. What is most important for our families, for our businesses, for ourselves? The first time I realized that I was going to have to turn a client away, I was torn about what to do. I was already heavily committed, and he was looking for some work on short notice. I didn’t know if I could maintain the relationship we had, and turn down the offer. On top of that, I had already committed to a weekend hike with my children.
As I weighed my options, I considered the disappointment my kids would have in me if I let them down. I also considered the possibility that the work I had committed to finishing for my other clients may be rushed, or late. In the end, I sided with my children and the commitments I had already made. My clients return to me because I keep my commitments and hold myself to high standards when it comes to job performance. My children learn how to do the same because they watch me.
Turning down a customer is risky. They may turn to someone else. But to me, tarnishing my reputation and integrity by taking on more than I could handle seemed worse yet. In the end, I thanked him for the offer and explained that my schedule wouldn’t allow me to accept this time. He thanked me by offering me another open project at a later date. I’m glad I learned to recognize my limitations, because now I know that saying no can be a good thing.