It’s one of the first words that children learn to say. Strong-willed and determined to do things their own way, ‘No’ becomes their default answer – at least until they are worn down by adults.
And whilst I am not saying that a stroppy 2-year-old should always get their own way, I do wonder if taking that decision away from them all the time leads to adults who no longer know how to say no to anything…
ARE YOU A ‘YES’ PERSON?
Is “Yes” your default answer to every request?
Do you feel guilty if you say no to someone, even if it’s something that you don’t really want to do?
Are you compelled to say yes to some people all the time?
Then it sounds like you are a yes person. There’s nothing wrong with being kind and helping people when you really want to, but if you feel annoyed and resentful after you’ve agreed to do something then that’s not a response you want to continue with.
It’s even worse if you are saying yes to things that you don’t want to do in your business – going the extra mile for customers and clients who don’t value what you do; giving discounts when your work is worth its value; messaging people at all hours with free advice because they don’t want to book to see you.
You need to learn to say yes when you want to and no when you don’t.
NO MAKES WAY FOR YES
Sounds a bit like a contradiction in terms, doesn’t it?
But here’s the thing. If you never say no to other people’s requests, you don’t give yourself enough space or time to follow your own heart and say yes to the things you would really love.
Your heartfelt desires need space and time and help too, so it’s time to give yourself a break and learn to say no to all of those requests that are making you miserable and those people who are taking you for granted.
EASIER SAID THAN DONE
Yes, it may seem that way, but I used to be a yes person too and have managed to change my habit of agreeing to everything. I still help out where I can and support charities and groups as well as giving friends a hand, but I have slowly weeded out all the crap I used to do just because I thought I ‘should’ or was cajoled into.
I’m not suggesting you become selfish and refuse to do anything for anyone and return to being a toddler, but there is a middle ground here between doing everything and doing nothing.
HOW TO SAY NO
Here are my 3 tips for getting on the ‘No Train’ as Marie Forleo calls it:
1. Breathe – when someone asks you to do something, take a deep breath and let their request sink in. DON’T ANSWER STRAIGHT AWAY! You can still back out of things after you have agreed to do them but it is far easier and less energy-zapping to make a decision when they ask. Taking a breath allows you to consider how the request makes you FEEL.
2. Take one step at a time – try saying no to one thing that you would usually get sucked into. Whether that’s a family event or a needy client, once you’ve said no once and realised that the world hasn’t ended you will find it easier to say no the next time. Remember to breathe first after any questions and give yourself time to consider your answer.
3. ‘No’ is a complete sentence – remember that you do not need to explain yourself or come up with excuses as to why you can’t do something. You may think you do, but that’s only because you will feel guilty
Saying ‘No’ may feel really icky to begin with and you may want to return to your default ‘Yes’ answer, but remember…