This post is for all you people pleasers! Saying no can be super hard, but sometimes it is necessary in both our personal and professional lives. Learning how to say no to people in a kind way is a super skill and takes practice.
Some people have a gift for saying no, but for most of us, saying no is a challenge. We don't like to offend people or let them down, we want to be involved (ever heard of FOMO?), or we genuinely want to help! We might feel guilty so we're compelled to say yes out of obligation. Some of us find saying no super awkward. It's just easier to say yes!
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Let me tell you… saying no may just open up a whole new world for you and allow you to zero in on your goals and dreams. Saying no will allow you to slow down and focus on the things in your life that are truly valuable.
UNDERSTAND YOUR TIME
Consider your capacity and what you have time for! Start by establishing a block schedule. Map out what are the most important things to fit into each block. This makes it super easy to determine what you have time for and what you don't! If you know you can't do a good job, or that you don't have time, it's best to say no! But how??
Well, I'm glad you asked…
WAYS TO SAY NO POLITELY
Once you understand how valuable your time is, it will be a little bit easier to say no! Here are a few tricks to make it a piece of cake.
GIVE YOURSELF TIME
It's perfectly fine to have a canned response like “I'd love to, but let me check my schedule and get back to you.” This gives you a little time to check your schedule (we HIGHLY recommend you keep your schedule in your phone) and consider whether you really have the time and energy to commit before you say yes.
If you typically have a hard time saying no, I highly recommend you put this into practice and make it a habit!
THE COMPLIMENT SANDWICH
A good philosophy to live by is “kindness begins with me.” If you have to say no, try to soften the blow with a little kindness. Say a fellow mom invites you to a play date. Try something like this: You're so sweet to think of me, unfortunately we're booked this week, I hope you have so much fun!
Or maybe you're asked to do something for work and your plate is overloaded, you know you won't be able to give the job the time and energy it deserves. A great response could be: Yes, I'm happy to make this the priority. Which of these other projects should I deprioritize to be able to focus on this new project correctly?
OFFER AN ALTERNATIVE
If you would like to say yes, but it really doesn't work for you, offer a suggestion that DOES work for you.
When your friends invite you to lunch at an expensive restaurant you cannot afford, suggest a cheaper alternative!
If your schedule is full and you're busy at that time, offer a different time that does work for you!
Perhaps you would love to do something, but the timing is just off! You can always say no for now! This could be an easy way to let yourself and others down gently as you remind yourself that this is something you can circle back to when you do have time! In your response, you can let others know that you would love to after a certain timeframe.
If it's something you just aren't interested in, don't just make an excuse because you might be approached again and have to figure out how to say no all over! In the end, letting someone know that you aren't interested by using the compliment sandwich is a great way to go!
TIME TO SAY YES TO YOU
We have a whole lesson in Productivity Boot Camp on The Power of No where we go into detail on how to protect your time! We know how valuable time is. For even more tips and tricks to help you gracefully say no and even help you determine when to say no, you gotta check out this life-changing program!
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Alright, now you're a master at how to say no! No more stressing about being a “yes man” all the time. We hope this helps you out as much as it has us!
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