“It’s only by saying “no” that you can concentrate on the things that are really important” – Steve Jobs
At the beginning of this year I set the intention to say no more. I wanted to only say yes if my immediate reaction was a big Hell YES! I planned to say a loving no to anything that didn’t generate that excitement within me.
Saying no is something I have struggled with in the past, and honestly at times still do.
Partly because there is so sooo much out there that I want to be part of and contribute to, I am someone who can generate a lot of excitement about new ideas very quickly.
Another part is that little people pleaser in me that pops up every now and again. Sometimes saying no can make you feel like you are going to let someone else down or upset them and no one wants to intentionally do that.
A big lesson that I have learnt the hard way is that – Saying Yes to one thing means saying No to something else. Often what I was saying a big No to was myself. My time alone, time to fill myself back up, time to do the things that I loved doing but had ‘no time’ to do because of how much I was doing for other people. When you say Yes to you, you are in a position to give more, this sounds amazing in theory right? Below I have shared some practical tips on saying no more (so that you can say yes to you)
First up – know what you want to be saying yes to.
When you know exactly what you want to be saying yes to, it makes it a lot easier to know when you should be saying no. As soon as an opportunity comes up or someone asks if you can do something for them, you can quickly determine whether or not that is aligned with the things you want more of. When you aren’t clear on this, it becomes easy to start saying yes to too many things. Remind yourself frequently on what you want to be saying yes to.
Offer a negotiated no.
I use this one a lot. It is simply where you are saying no and at the same time offering them something else or a better solution.
I have found that since I started getting involved in community and volunteer organisations, I get asked all the time to be involved in more. I would love to help all the very worthy causes and I simply can’t commit my time to all of them, so whenever someone asks me to be involved and I know that I can’t, I will always either suggest someone else or ask around to my contacts and see if I can find someone else to help them. I love this because I am still helping them and I got to connect new people to new opportunities. If someone asks for your help, you can almost always help them without doing exactly what they are asking of you.
The negotiated no comes in handy in work situations when let’s say your manager is pushing a deadline you know you can’t meet. If for whatever season you can’t say a straight out no you can always negotiate the terms. Don’t be afraid to make it clear what you can and cannot do. If they ask for something from you right now and you simply can’t drop what you are doing, try – I’d love to do that for you, I will be able to tomorrow.
It helps to avoid using the word ‘but’ because it cancels out whatever you say before it, for example saying ‘I’d love to do that for you but…’ will immediately frame you up to make an excuse and anything you said prior to the word ‘but’ becomes irrelevant.
Remember that the person asking the questions holds the power
It is ok to put question back on the other person and get more info before saying yes and committing. Questions like -How long will this take? What are the expectations of me? How would you like this prioritized over the 100 other things you have asked me to do?
When you start asking the questions you are taking control of the conversation. By asking questions back you can sometimes help the other person realise that what they are asking of you is a little unreasonable.
If the answer is a straight out No - Don’t feel like you have to justify yourself or apologise
Feeling the need to justify ourselves comes for a place of feeling bad for saying no. Remember that you are saying yes to the things you want to say yes to and that is something to feel good about! You do not need to explain yourself or apologise to anyone for your choices.
The most important thing if you are trying to not upset the other person is to not beat around the bush by making ‘excuses’ or saying maybe. Just say no. Be upfront and be firm on your answer.
If you are in a situation where you really don’t feel like seeing anyone on a particular day, you have 3 options. You can go with a completely open mind and spend time with them without letting judgements from the past interfere or You can say a loving no – try ‘I really would love some time with myself today can we catch up another time’ or if you have no intention of ever catching up with them, just say it!
Don’t let labels influence your choice.
Ever thought ‘I HAVE to say yes’ because she’s my mum or his my boss or whatever whatever. You rationalise it to yourself like this and what you are affirming to yourself is that those positions are more important that you. That is not true, not one little bit! You are the most important person in your life and you need to treat yourself accordingly!
Take ownership of how others treat you.
You create the patterns in your life. If you are a person that always says yes then you are creating that expectation from others that you will keep saying yes. If you always say yes and you suddenly say no, this may come as a shock and the other person may very well get upset or confused. Stick to your decision and create the patterns you want to see. Be clear on your boundaries, people will soon get the message. Also take ownership on how you treat yourself, if you continue to do everything for others and nothing for yourself then that is a pattern you are creating. Make a conscious choice to say yes to you. You deserve it beautiful
PS - Know someone that might like this post, I'd love you to forward on!
PPS - Want me future posts delivered right to your inbox? You can subscribe below x