“Learn to say NO “
You don’t always need to explain why you’re setting those boundaries, either. You can simply say, “I have to go,” or “I’m so sorry but I can’t come help you at this moment, please give me a call or I have some other priority.”Do not fear “the no.” It may seem like a powerfully intimidating two letter word. But for such a tiny word, “no” is profoundly liberating. When you decide, “this does not warrant my immediate attention, or this is counterproductive we’re not doing this” you embrace your intuition. If at any point you’ve already thought about saying “no” to something, there’s probably merit for consideration. Saying “no” is your battle shield for deflecting distractions, staying true to yourself, and sticking to the course. Every time you agree to do something you do not believe is right, or want to do, it beats you up mentally. I know firsthand. People like to see progress. To create. The creative process is handicapped when you are playing dodge ball with bullshit you wish you had never committed to. Trust your gut—your brain will thank you. But don’t remove yes from your dictionary totally if it is for a good cause. Learn to say No, politely. Many of us are programmed not to say “no” because we think if we do its not nice. We have a tendency to dislike disagreeing, or we believe saying “yes” is easier than saying “no.” Adopt simple strategies to say “no,” politely but firmly. You do not need to cook up stories in order to refuse. Many times people lie in order to avoid saying “yes” to something they don’t want to do. Saying NO is a divine responsibility.
The thing is, many of these thoughts are self-created, and not real. Saying no really is a prerogative, and shouldn’t be as difficult as we make it out to be. It’s about learning how to do so. Here are 6 simple tips how you can learn to say no: Realize its okay to say no.
No matter whom you are speaking to and what the situation is, you have the right to say no. The only reason why you feel you don’t have that right is because you choose to relinquish it to others. Rather than think that we can’t say no, it’s about learning how to say it and put it across in a manner that the other party can understand and accept.
Even if it’s your boss or someone of higher seniority that you’re dealing with, and you don’t feel that you can say no, realize that it’s your choice to say yes because you’re unwilling to deal with the consequences of saying no. Ultimately everything in life boils down to us and the choices we make.
Know your priorities
What are your biggest goals this year? Would you prefer to spend time on these goals or on this new commitment? Knowing your goals reinforces your reasons for saying no. I’ve also decided to say no to local events, and my plans for the year ahead involve in my legal work and writings. Knowing my vision and plans has made it much easier to say no.
Write down first in a paper
If you’re not sure how to start, dump out everything on your mind first in the email, without intending to send it out right away. It can be gibberish. It can be thoughts of frustration. Treat it as writing a draft reply. The process of doing this helps sort out your thoughts. After you finish dumping out your thoughts, you’ll find it much easier to craft your actual reply from there. This works for me every time.
Provide an alternative
This is not necessary, but if you feel bad about saying no, you can provide an alternative option to cushion out the effect. For example, if the person wants to work on a project with you but you cannot commit to it, you can recommend a few leads to him/her who can do equally good job as you. That way, the person won’t be left hanging and he/she can seek out these options instead. Usually in my rejections, I’ll provide a couple of quick leads/options out of courtesy.
Just say no
Sometimes I wonder about how to say no, and in the end I just go with a straightforward “I’m sorry, but I’m afraid I can’t take it up” answer. Surprisingly, the other parties take to it very readily like the example above, making me realize that a lot of conflicts I have with saying no are more my own illusions than anything else! As long as you’re earnest, candid and respectful of the other party in the reply, there shouldn’t be any reason why there would be an issue. How about you?
Over the last 15 years, I realized my people pleasing tendencies were creating stress and inefficient production cycles. Thanks to my stern life learning lessons and simple exercises in saying “no,” I’ve begun to preserve my most valuable resource while growing personally and professionally.