Be Ruthless

At times I have been called “ruthless.” I do not want to stop what I am doing, or turn off the road I am on. If I get an idea of something I want to accomplish, I will not give up until I am done, and not just done, but done well. If I get an idea to find something specific for our home, or a gift for someone I will hunt and explore until I find that perfect thing. Maybe the word I should use is “relentless.” As I looked into “ruthless” it gets a bad rap.

“Ruthless: having or showing no pity or compassion for others.”

After reading an article from Fast Company titled: “The Many, Many, Many Things You Should Say ‘No’ to at Work” – under the section: “Be Ruthless” the article states this:

“Quite candidly, I’m really ruthless in terms of doing only those things which are absolutely essential. I’m saying no to a lot, both in work and life. I see a lot of working moms who think they have to be 110% at work, and then volunteer to run the school auction. We’ve become so awful at saying no. I try hard to become incredibly selective about those things I engage with, so I can be really present for the stuff that I’m doing, and be really engaged with my kids in a meaningful way. People are trying to accomplish too much, and they’re killing themselves in the process.”

Most of us are trying to do too much. Most of us are asked to do too much. Most of us take on too much. Time for change? Yes. How can we make that happen? Be ruthless. I am very selective about the food I put into my body. I am selective about the people I spend my time with in life. I am selective about making sure I have time to workout. Why not be even more selective about saying no? As you may know this has been a theme in my blogs of recent weeks and months. My hope is to make gradually become relentlessly ruthless about my time and my engagement with others.

One thought on “Be Ruthless

  1. excellent commentary. couple things:

    1) most people are not knowledgeable in the definitions of words. another example of a word that continually floats around my office is “i want you to be maniacal” according to Webster’s online dictionary, if i was to be maniacal at the offices, i’d either be “affected with or suggestive of madness ” or “characterized by ungovernable excitement or frenzy : frantic .” either way, i am not being productive. shame, maybe i should be maniacal to the detriment of the company!

    2) i don’t agree with the use of “ruthless” in the “be ruthless” section of “The Many, Many, Many….” because agreeing to help people when they ask is an attempt at symbiosis or “many hands less work.” If i say yes and not perform because i was unable to gauge effort required for success, than i am either inefficient or incapable and may be detrimental to the effort because the person asking for the help may trust in your ability. If i say “no” to a request of help, than the person asking is no better off when compared to before their asking of my help. My saying “no” may be well thought out as i am able or capable to gauge time and effort and i know that i will not succeed. therefore my “no” could be the best thing for this person and said with pity and compassion.

    3) this really uncovers the fact that people are myopic. they will often expect you to help and probably included you in their plans before they’ve confirmed your ability to help (a failure of well executed planning). OR people have no regard for other’s commitments elsewhere and fail to recognize that we all have lives well beyond their interactions. I saw this a lot when i ran a foundation and whey asked for funds for organizations outside of our mission, i had to say “thank you no” many times but always made an efort to provide options to help. some were appreciative but most were not (hangups, yelling, etc.) because many either committed the funds in their brains and others committed the funds to the charity. I also see this a lot when it comes to personal fund raising for either a charity or for a church or another organization. When i say no to peoples’ requests for donation, i rarely get a “thank you anyway” but more often get “what a jerk” look. having run into this both personally and professionally, I thought about it quite a bit, figured out that my “no” – to them – invalidates their passion or fundamentalism towards their cause and their “what a jerk” response is made with no knowledge that i donate both money and time towards both education and veterans affairs.


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