A client has asked me
“How do you say no?
When you’re too busy, you’re weighed down, your priorities rule you, but you just want to say yes to everyone. Don’t want to let anyone down. You bend your life to fit them in and then you lose sleep because it just doesn’t all fit.
How do you say no?”
No is the most productive word in the world.
Danielle Storey, the Million Dollar Client Relationship expert insists that “No opens the door to yes” and that has been my experience also.
So why don’t we say it more?
There is a common saying that if you want to get something done, give it to a busy person. This is built on the concept that they won’t say NO.
There are a couple of elements to this that we need to examine:
1) Our Image
We don’t want to be seen as someone who lets another down. We want to say yes because if we don’t we think that someone else will think poorly of us. That someone else could be a friend, a family member, a boss, a colleague, a new friend, an old friend or even a random stranger.
The first thing you MUST take on board is this. What other people think of you is none of your business.
They may think poorly of you but if they are someone who truly values you, they will accept whatever your response is because they will know you have a lot more going on in your life than what they know about. Do you really want to spend time with someone who gets upset because you won’t do them a favour? You are worth more than that.
2) Who is Asking
My experience is the difficulty to say NO depends on who is asking. It can be very difficult to say no to a family member. They also have the advantage of more power when it comes to emotional manipulation purely because of their history with you.
The same can be said for a Boss or a client. For some reason we think our job or the contract is at risk. As I will explain later, they both actually WANT you to say No. They just don’t realise it.
3) Self Belief
It is so important to realise that you are worth saying no for. Too often we can see how others should say No more often but can’t see that we are in the same boat. Trust me, you are truly worth it. Your time is more important to you than it is to anyone else. Your own plans need your attention. Your own desires and needs are also important. Do not sacrifice yourself and your own needs and wants unnecessarily for others. Being a martyr is not as good as people want you to believe it is!
I love what the flight attendants say every time I am on a plane. “When the mask falls from the ceiling, please be sure to fit your own before you assist others.”
If you don’t look after your own needs, no one else will. You have to be ok first before you can be of service to others.
4) They Want you to Say No
Without realising it, other people want you to say No.
Most people operate on the basis that you are a mature person and when you have reached capacity you will say so. To keep saying yes when it is costing you in terms of time, energy and even sanity is not fair to you or to the business or family unit. So even though they may seem like they don’t want to hear you say no, they will be much happier you did that to come to them at the deadline and say, “Sorry I didn’t get it done.”
To get a bit hippy for a moment, saying no is one of the biggest acts of self-love that you can do.
By all means, please do things for other people. Please give of yourself generously but not at the expense of yourself.
You owe it to yourself to say NO. It is the most productive and most powerful word in the world.