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Knowing how to say no isn’t something that comes naturally to a lot of people. But if you are feeling overwhelmed and maxed out in your business, maybe it’s time to stop saying YES on autopilot.
Granted, it can be difficult turning people away when you have been a yes person for so long. You might even feel awful and feel like you are letting people down.
But understand this; saying no does not make you a bad person. It simply means you are respecting the fact that you can’t or don’t want to do something.
What you are saying YES to realizing that you simply can’t do it all.
Learning how to say no is effectively learning how to be a better communicator, not just with the person you are refusing, but with your internal self. Sure it may be tough turning other people down if your natural instinct is to say yes, but there are simply times when you deserve to put your needs before others.
I’ve been practicing these tips and it becomes easier over time. Even the situations that I thought might be hard (like saying NO after being involved with a project for a long time or opting out of attending an event with important contacts) turned out OK.
No one wound up angry, and in some cases, it strengthened our relationship or became the perfect YES for someone else!
Here are a few tips that will help you to say no without feeling guilty.
You won’t have to worry about hurting the other person’s feelings if you decline a request politely. They will appreciate you letting them know in a gentle and caring manner and will understand that it’s something you can’t do for them. Often a smile and a simple ‘I’m sorry but…’ will help to diffuse any potential animosity on the behalf of the requester.
Be upfront and tell the requester you won’t be able to help—as quickly as possible so they can move on to find the right person. Don’t feel as though you need to detail the reasons for your decision. A brief one liner will suffice as an explanation. The worst thing you can do is make up some elaborate bogus excuse as to why you can’t fulfill a request. Not only do you run the risk of the person finding out about your white lie, but you will start to feel guilty for not being truthful.
Some individuals struggle to say no, and feel guilty about it afterwards because of a strong desire to please other people. Perhaps you don’t want to come across as rude or unhelpful or are afraid of causing conflict. If you can try to understand why you have this longing to please others, you may start to develop resources to tackle the pangs of guilt. In doing so, you will begin to feel more comfortable with saying no.
It’s your prerogative whether or not you want to do something. In fact, it’s healthy to do so, particularly if something is going to take up your much needed time and space. Some people say that NO is a complete sentence. I think this can come across as a bit harsh, but the point of this slogan is to remind you that it’s OK to say NO.
TAKE ACTION: Start saying YES to what really matters. Say NO to gain back your valuable time & energy for your top priorities. This is a concept that I use with all of my clients. Let’s talk about how I can help your business to focus on what matters the most »
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Marketing Strategist & Designer
I work with service-based entrepreneurs to attract more ideal leads, 24/7. I use a practical and flexible approach to adjust to the new normal…and beyond. I offer a blend of 26+ years of expertise in marketing, websites, brand identity, strategy, tech solutions and more. My skills link together like blocks to create a custom fit for you.