Learning How to Say No for Personal Empowerment and Greater Vision
Have you ever heard yourself saying yes to someone and agreeing to do something, when inside you honestly wanted to say “no”? It happens to everyone and learning to say no can be a crucial step to independence, confidence, and success. It will also provide you with vision and insight into your own life experiences and desires for your future. The moment you are able to graciously turn down a request for your time and talents for the right reasons you will feel like the world is now your oyster.
You want to be accommodative towards people. You want to help out as best you can. However, too many people are more than willing to let you help out and will request more from you if you let them. When this happens, you need to learn how to say no. It took many years for me to be able to do this and once I did I never looked back.
Here are some steps and ideas for you to get started.
If you have too much on your plate, you need to let people know this. Otherwise, people will continue to ask for more. To be fair, one person may not know that several others have requested you doing something for them. That is why you are responsible for letting others know. For example, while I was helping a family member as he went through cancer treatment, people who did not know me while had no idea this was taking up so much of my time and energy. When they would ask me to do something that just wasn’t possible due to my time constraints I simply explained to them that I was caring for an ill family member and could not help them at that time.
Ask people for reasons why they are requesting you to do things for them. If they have a valid reason, you can consider doing it. But, if they are just trying to pass off their work, you will know from their response, and it will be easier for you to say no. Many times I believe it was because I was a nice person that people came to me so often with requests for my time and talents. When I said no in these cases I would often recommend a solution for them that did not include me.
Learning How to Say No Requires Grit, True Grit
Learning to say no to others is not for the fainthearted. Don’t beat around the bush when people ask for something. They will perceive you as being weak, and they will take advantage of that weakness. Once they discover that, they will continue coming back for more requests. Instead, be strong and confident and know that you are doing what is necessary. Hold your head up high and think about how powerful it can be to put yourself first most of the time.
You don’t want to cop an attitude when saying no. You simply want to politely state that it is not the right time for you. If the requester gets agitated because you said no, stay polite, but firm. You are in control of your time, and you must let them know that.
In an article from PsychCentral they offer three tips that I believe are valuable while you are learning how to say no to others:
Keep your response simple. If you want to say no, be firm and direct. Use phrases such as “Thanks for coming to me but I’m afraid it’s not convenient right now” or “I’m sorry but I can’t help this evening.” Try to be strong in your body language and don’t over-apologize. Remember, you’re not asking permission to say no.
Consider a compromise. Only do so if you want to agree with the request, but have limited time or ability to do so. Suggest ways forward to suit both of you. Avoid compromising if you really want or need to say no.
Be true to yourself. Be clear and honest with yourself about what you truly want. Get to know yourself better and examine what you really want from life.
Some people refrain from saying no because it puts them in a martyr role. They take on so much work to get others to feel sorry for them. Don’t fall into this trap. It is a thinly-veiled excuse, and you should not participate in this behavior. It will backfire on you after a while.
Saying no to your boss if you are in the work force is challenging. You need to be delicate but firm. A good way to handle this is to remind her of what you have on your plate already. Ask to have her prioritize your tasks. Unfortunately, you will have to do what your boss says or be ready to face the consequences of subordination. If the requests become too unreasonable after a while, it may be time to look for new work. I went through this regularly as a classroom teacher during the twenty years I was an employee of the school district. Finally learning how to say no to my administrators during my last two years of teaching empowered me personally, to the point that I realized I wanted to have my own business that I could run from home, or from wherever I had an internet connection.
When you get better at saying no, make sure you don’t abuse it. You must manage your time wisely, but you don’t want to come off as a slacker who won’t take any requests. It’s easy to get caught up in saying no and refuse every request but is not in your best interest to do this.
Do not apologize when you say no to someone. You have done nothing wrong. Be logical with your thinking and words so they can see that you are serious with your answer. Learning how to say no at the proper times will change your life and lead to increased confidence, independence, and success. This is also the first step in the process of saying yes to the right people, projects, and experiences that will help you to grow and further reach your goals. Please let me know about your experiences with this concept in your life and business.
I’m author, publisher, and entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green and would love to connect with you. If you are new to the world of online entrepreneurship please check out my comprehensive training on how to set up Funnels That Click and learn how to gain an unfair advantage when it comes to building a lucrative online business.