Sandra Dee RobinsonHow being clear on your market and vision can help you protect your time. (and some practical advice on how to decline an invite without any harm)

A while back, I had a coffee date from hell.  It was a business meet-up, really.  An agreement to have a conversation with someone new from a networking group.  I said yes, (I remember thinking, “Say yes, because that’s what people in this group do). I regretted it almost immediately upon arriving at the meeting point.

If you feel your time is precious, and you’ve ever had someone waste it, this may resonate:

Her interpretation of an “Italian Restaurant” was, in fact, a pizza parlor (fast food style) with about 40 screaming kids running in and out.  In front of the metal counter, there were at least 25 people in line waiting to order their food, and I was hungry, perhaps even, “Hangry.” Then, I see her seated in the center of all the chaos with a glass of wine, that at that point I would have paid 50.00 for.    I asked, as politely as I could, if there was somewhere we might be able to move to that was easier to hear each other… and where I might be able to grab a bite and a glass of my own. My question was left unanswered, as she launched into a business pitch and her life story.  Not one question about me, my business or life…After 45 minutes, “Hangry” was an understatement and I swore I would never meet anyone for a “coffee” or “wine” ever again!

I have since rethought that, and I do now say, “yes” to meet over coffee or happy hour. However, I say, “No” much, much more!  (That’s a very good thing)

Have you ever had a meeting, or event that you felt was a mistake?

The thing about time, vs money: you can create more money in your life, but you cannot create more time!

Let’s look at what I did wrong:  I did not practice discernment before saying, “Yes. That was it!

There are two types of discernment.

  1. Spiritual discernment. I have a strong faith, and I absolutely trust in this!
  2. Investigative discernment. Ask questions and intelligently decide whether this opportunity is worth your time. (I did not do this before finding myself in my worst coffee meeting ever!)

Let’s make this really easy:


  1. 1.Does it bring you closer to your vision?  Will this meeting, speaking engagement, tele-summit, phone call, networking event, lead me closer to where I want to be?
  2. Is it in alignment with your values?

Thus, your clarity around your Vision and Values become the filter that can preserve your most precious commodity; your TIME.

Let me take the opportunity here to add one more question if the answer to the first two are, “yes.”

Are you the right member of your team to engage?  (maybe not!) If you can delegate the meeting, or opportunity to a team member, do so!

Now, How clear are you in your Vision? I’m not talking, “Pie in the sky” but what is POSSIBLE and by WHEN?  What resources do you have/ need and how will you use them?  Who do you need in your circle to make that happen?

Let’s look at Values, too:  WRITE them down.  I do this work with my clients when we do initial branding and when rebranding, when creating messaging for speeches, videos and marketing.  Values are crucial even when hiring. These are the filter that you run everything through!

If you are a bit cloudy on your vision or values, don’t fret.  You can get there in a few committed hours!

The video here also has a few suggestions for just what to say, to give an “Empowered No” and still feel respectful and authentic.:).

Sandra Dee Robinson is a business and communication coach. Clarify Your Message.  Share it well. Build the business and life you dream of.   Schedule a FREE 30 minute Clarity Call with Sandra to start the path to clarity in your brand and message!