A simple two letter word, NO. Yet, it can be one of the hardest to say. And, if it’s something you struggle to say, you can be left feeling stressed, overwhelmed, exhausted, behind in your own priorities and resentful.
Anytime you say yes to someone you are saying no to anything else you wish to accomplish with that time. Time is a limited resource, the only thing we can never get back. What is saying yes costing you?
My favourite tips for learning how to say No:
- Before automatically saying yes, ask yourself ‘is this helping me towards my goal or priorities?’ or ‘what will I have to give up to do this?’
- Notice your reaction when you are asked. If your initial reaction isn’t ‘absolutely!!’ then it could be a good time to say no.
- Say no slowly. Michael Bungay Stanier (note 1) shares some questions you can ask to say no slowly:
- Why are you asking me?
- Whom else have you asked?
- When you say this is urgent, what do you mean?
- If I couldn’t do all of this, but could do just a part, what part would you have me do?
- What do you want me to take off my plate so I can do this? (see note 2)
(Eventually people will stop asking due to all the questions they get!!)
- Reflect on your reasons for saying yes. Is it to ‘control’ what people think of you? Do you think they’ll think more highly of you for always saying yes? You have no control over what people think of you – DO NOT say yes for this reason. Instead, rather than being a people pleaser in order to get people to like you, work on liking yourself more.
What are your tips for saying No?