The process of saying no and refusing a request can be challenging for many
But look no further, use these 9 tips on the power of saying no to make your life stress free
Many of us will go to enormous lengths to avoid refusing someone. Or if we do say yes, we get incredibly stressed and resentful. Sometimes it means working crazy hours and neglecting our own needs.
- Hannah was always asked to cover for a colleague even though it meant that she would get behind in her own work.
- Jenna was frequently asked to organise events that were unrelated to her job and added no value to her career.
- Colette received high numbers of requests to speak for free at women’s events.
They all claimed to feel bad about turning people down, even to the point of employing extreme avoidance strategies to get around it.
But today we are in NO-vember, so it’s a good time to start practising!
Why we don’t say NO
There are lots of reasons why we don’t say no and the psychology behind is complicated. Women are often raised to be people pleasers. Maybe we look for approval or recognition or simply want to be liked. Sometimes we fear conflict. It can be deeply rooted in our childhoods. There is no doubt that the inability to say no and establish clear boundaries can lead to stress, anxiety, burnout, and poor relationships. When you say yes and really mean no, you are essentially telling a lie.
I spoke to Dorothy Dalton, Founder of 3Plus who swears by these tips you will see below. “the most important thing to do is to stay calm and smile if it’s appropriate; You don’t have to say no on the spot. It doesn’t even have to be an aggressive encounter. You also can’t be responsible for other people’s reactions.”
9 ways effective ways of saying NO
1. “I’ll look at my schedule and will get back to you”
This is perfectly acceptable to check. No one should expect an on-the-spot decision. If the person persists suggest if they need an immediate response they ask someone else.
2. “I would be happy to, but I am fully committed until….”
You are not turning them down but telling them you are committed until…. some date far in the future.
3. “I have other plans so I can’t…” (this could include taking time off)
It is perfectly OK to have other plans including a night sitting on your sofa binging on Netflix. Don’t let other people’s priorities guilt trip you into cancelling. Self-care is important.
4. “Thanks for thinking of me but I’ll need to check with others…”
We all live in an eco-system where we have other people who count on us. It might be colleagues, family or friends.
5. “Let me see to see how that fits in with my other commitments.”
It’s totally fine to check with your other commitments and see how it fits in. This might even be about blocking off you-time
6. “I’ll say no right now but if things change, perhaps I can get back to you.”
This is a great way to respond to something that is more flexible. If getting back to them doesn’t work then that is just how it is.
7. “To your boss “If I take this on – which project do you want me to let go?”
Bosses are the worst especially if they guilt trip you or even bully you. Now is the time to do an audit of what you have on your plate and ask them what they want to deprioritise. If they say everything is a priority look for another job.
8. To your colleague “This is your responsibility, and I don’t have the time to take on your work. I suggest you raise this with the boss.”
We all have that lazy colleague who dump on other people. Don’t let that person be you. You are being direct but firm and inviting them to ask the boss to get involved. If the boss rules against you see point 7.
9. To your kids “When did your assistant leave?”
Kids are super manipulative and if they can get a parent to take on something they should be doing themselves they will. Keep the message light but firm and always follow through.
The power of saying NO
Saying “NO” firmly and convincingly, but pleasantly, is a great reminder that you understand your real priorities and have good boundaries. It means you are clear about who you are, what you want, and your own goals and values. It shows you are able to focus on yourself and your own well being which is great for your long-term personal physical and mental health.
In today’s highly complex and ever-changing world that is more important than ever.
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