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“Actually, I don't do that” - 3 reasons against the word “actually”

My last two articles were about the value of creative work and a few tips that might help look at things a little differently. As I am a musician and creative, everything on this topic is in my professional field. I hope some of these thoughts can still be applied to other creative areas. You can find these articles here and here, because the topics belong together.

Today I want to give you a few reasons why it is worth saying no to inquiries. And why it is not worth starting a sentence with “actually”. Let's stay with the example from the last few articles, the appearances at weddings.


You are self-employed full-time, you have to work a lot anyway, you are out and about every weekend as a musician ... When you have time off, you naturally wish to spend this time with your loved ones. And then it comes:

Acquaintances ask you if you bring your camera to a barbecue for a short while, you answer “Actually I don't do that anymore”, because you earn your money with it and you are a photographer.

A couple of friends asks you if you don't want to “just” sing a song at their wedding, after all you are a friend (or distant acquaintance) and are so close to the two of them. “Actually, I don't do that anymore” you say, because as a musician you logically earn your money with music.


The problem is that “actually” has to get out of the sentence. “I don't do that anymore” is a clear statement with which the other person can do something. You may have to position yourself briefly afterwards and reply to the question "Why ?!" have ready. But actually (haha) you don't even need that. Because everyone understands a clear “no” with a good attitude. And why do you have to justify yourself? It is your decision. The word “actually” opens the door to renegotiation, from which it is difficult to represent and maintain your position.


For me personally, such “Mauschel” jobs fall into the “quick win” category.

Why? They don't bring you a lot of money, but you might accept them because you're doing someone a favor who might not return it or because you think it's better to take fuffi with you than nothing at all. Some time ago I decided to ignore such “quick wins” completely. Sometimes helping out in a cover band, here sometimes on a birthday in a trio. No, I don't do that anymore. And this decision did something to me: it increased my value and sharpened my profile.


1. Losing sight of the big goal #Focus

Capacities that you waste with “quickwins” are missing elsewhere. Was that a job that brought you closer to your big goal? No? Then give it a try with “let it be”!

2. It doesn't match your profile at all (you may not want to do it at all!)

That can also be a reason, then stay away! Creative professionals in particular should be careful here. With artists it can feel very weird when you have to act against your beliefs and, for example, have to sing a song that you don't want to sing ... You are not doing yourself a favor, because you will not blow anyone away with it.

3. The pay is not good

That is very likely with such assignments. It doesn't add value and it frustrates you. On your few weekends when you don't work, do you want to do things for poor pay that you “actually” don't do?


Delete the "actually" from your vocabulary. Learn to say “no” when something is wrong with you and focus on your professional goals. Making these decisions has really moved me forward and sharpened my profile. And maybe you are exactly where I was a few years ago with this topic. It stressed me out and although I knew that I “really don't want to do it” (the more I read the word ...) I had quite a few things done to me.

I hope it helps you a little. Realize your worth. Stand by what you do and what you don't do!


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