We are in an age of overstimulation. Even in relatively small Bend Oregon, there are a handful of fun events to do any given night of the week, not to count the many festivals throughout the year. We have friend time and family time and every time in between. Holidays, birthdays, traveling, presents to buy, things to accomplish. We don’t want to be left out, and we also don’t feel justified in saying “we can’t make it!” when there isn’t an obvious excuse. In all this whirlwind of activity, we live our lives moment to moment, week to week, until we wake up one day and realize how much time has disappeared.

When you feel stretched thin and out of control, can you really be your truest self, and accomplish your best work? We don’t believe so. This is true not only on a personal level but also as a company.

We center our core around our company “Hedgehog,” a concept by Jim Collins and his team. In simple terms, we focus on the intersection of three things. What we can be the best in the world at, what drives our economic engine, and what we are deeply passionate about.

In reality, staying true to our core is a challenge. It means we must unbiasedly understand what we can (and can’t) be the best at in the world, find our own economic driver and how we fit into our industry, and dig deep to find our true passion at the core of our company. Perhaps most importantly, a true understanding of the intersection means saying no. Saying no to opportunities that are outside our hedgehog. Saying no to some jobs we probably could figure out given time, but are not in our core competency. Making “stop doing lists” (also a Jim Collins concept), and rearranging resources when employees have too much on their plate.

When you ask yourself “does it fit in our hedgehog?” before making decisions as a company, it does some miraculous things.

1. You create a space for forward-thinking instead of reactive action.

2. It brings peace and effectiveness when employees aren’t trying to force things to work that won’t.

3. Employees have clarity on how to contribute to the companies march forward.

4. You avoid the overpromise-underdeliver results that drain morale.

5. People feel successful, confident, and hopeful, instead of out of control.

It is a powerful thing, saying no.

Our personal lives are so deeply connected to our workday that if you are living a life without saying no, you might start to feel out of control. When we start to feel like we are out of control, we all react in different but unhealthy ways to gain that control back.

So in life and business, it’s healthy to say, “No,” sometimes. Don’t say no to everything; just take the time to analyze if it is in your core competency.

Find the power of your new spirit animal: the hedgehog.

About the Author Addie DeLong

I am a marketing and public relations professional in the electronics manufacturing industry. I get to use my skills in communication, business, and art every day. I share the values of my company- great coffee and strong connections (in every sense of the word). Through my upbeat personality, I hope to spread genuine joy.

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