It's all about taking control.

Rumors abounded recently that Adele, one of the most popular musicians in the world, might be headlining one of America's biggest media events: the Super Bowl halftime show.

But Saturday night, during one of her sold-out performances at Los Angeles's Staples Center, Adele revealed that she turned down the offer.

So, first of all, I'd like to tell you, I'm not doing the Super Bowl. Well, come on...that show is not about music. And I don't dance or anything like that. So they were very kind; they did ask me but I did say no. I'm sorry.

"I know I'm not Beyoncé," the pop superstar went on to say.

The matter-of-fact manner in which Adele acknowledged her weaknesses and why she didn't feel like a good fit for the show have only further endeared her to fans. (Incidentally, the NFL and halftime show sponsor Pepsi said in a statement that they had not yet extended a formal offer to any artist.)

But beyond that, her words contain a bit of wisdom for all of us:

It's important to learn when to say "no."

This isn't the first time the superstar's strategy included turning down an opportunity that her peers would jump on.

Last year, Adele released 25, her latest album, and shattered sales records by selling 3.38 million copies in the U.S. in the first week alone. Her decision to not initially release the album for streaming seems to have played a role in that.

In an interview with Time, Adele explained her reasoning:

I believe music should be an event. For me, all albums that come out, I'm excited about leading up to release day. I don't use streaming. I buy my music. I download it, and I buy a physical [copy] just to make up for the fact that someone else somewhere isn't. It's a bit disposable, streaming.

I know that streaming music is the future, but it's not the only way to consume music. I can't pledge allegiance to something that I don't know how I feel about yet....

I'm proud of my decision. I would have been proud even if the album flopped. I would have been proud because I stuck to my guns, and I think it's really important as an artist that you do that.

I wrote about the power of "no" earlier this year, when über-successful film star Tom Hanks expressed similar sentiments. Speaking about the turning point in his career, Hanks said the following:

I realized...that I had to start saying a very, very difficult word to people, which was "no."

The odd lesson for that is, I figured out that's how you end up making the favorable work you do.... Saying yes, then you just work. But saying no means you made the choice of the type of story you wanted to tell and the type of character you want to play.

Putting It Into Practice

Every day, you're faced with choices at work. The key is to use "no" strategically.

For example, when I first started my own business, I took whatever work I could get. But as I built my brand, I gained the freedom to turn down clients and jobs that didn't further my goals.

I also learned not to chase down every big fish or bid on every major project--because doing so often leads to regrets.

What about team leads? Any good manager must learn to say no to certain meetings and tasks in order to prioritize.

And all of us need to say no when our principles dictate doing so. For example, if you lose your job for refusing to lie for your boss, despite the fact that you do good work and are a good employee, you'll leave knowing you made the right decision...and confident that you can find something better.

So take a moment and think about your own strengths, weaknesses, and personal goals. When decision-time comes, ask yourself if saying yes will hurt you more than help you.

If so, take a page out of Adele's book, and just say no.

Because remember:

Every time you say yes to something you don't really want, you're actually saying no to the things you do.

Published on: Aug 16, 2016
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