“It’s only by saying NO that you can concentrate
on the things that are really important.”
In my last newsletter, I talked about the challenge of saying "No" and some of the reasons we say "Yes" instead:
- You don’t want to let people down.
- You’re a ‘natural’ people-pleaser.
- You don’t want to be seen as a ‘difficult’ person or a colleague difficult to get along with.
I’m not surprised I received lots of comments! It's an issue that hits home with so many of us!
"Your articles are like a stomach punch. A painful reminder that I could have said NO” (I clarified with this person to be sure it wasn’t too hard a message and he said ‘A wake-up call, twenty years too late’.)
"What an important point of learning how to say no. It takes a life time to learn. Still learning."
In this issue, I'm explore some solutions and strategies with you, and of course, I will give you a Challenge!
All the best!
What is the Cost of Excessive ‘YES-ing’!
How would YOU answer this question?
For myself, I feel like I’ve wasted time on things I didn’t want to do. I have resented doing things I wish I’d said no to. And each unhappy YES felt like a bit of autonomy was taken away from me!
Of course, the truth is that I gave that autonomy away, but I wasn’t aware of that.
In Psychology Today, S. Sreenivasan and L. Weinberger say that doing for others is to be admired, but in excess can come “at the cost of our personhood” and can lead to downplaying or ignoring our own needs and wants.
How to build up the 'Saying No’ muscle
Value your time! Know your commitments and be clear on how you want to spend your time. You could say “I just can’t right now. My plate is overloaded as it is”. Leave it at that and DON’T apologise!
Know your priorities! If you have extra time does this request fit in with your priorities or take time away from them
Practice makes perfect! Say no when it’s easy which will make it easier to say no to the more difficult requests. Something like “wish I could but I can’t” and keep repeating it if necessary. It’s the clever Broken Record technique from Assertiveness.
Don’t apologise! It’s so important I’m saying it again. We think it’s being polite but it only weakens our no and leaves the other person thinking there is an opening to work on.
"I’ll get back to you"! Otherwise known as the Power of the Pause. The other person has had time to consider their request so take time to think how you want to respond.
It’s a simple one! Practice any of the 5 listed above.
Notice how you feel, how you sound, how the ‘other’ is reacting -without letting your Judge take over. And celebrate each time you use that muscle and gain some time and peace of mind for yourself. It’s worth it!!
More Benefits to Saying No!
I was captured with the title of this article in the Psych Central - “The Guilt-Free Guide to Saying No” in which the authors’ point out that saying no is skill that we can all sharpen. The article points out some benefits too, noting that saying no supports us in:
- Creating space in our schedules to rest and recharge
- Engaging in activities that actually align with our current goals
- Setting boundaries with loved ones and colleagues
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