Back to blog posts

The Art of ‘No’

It’s time to say a big, fat NO!

We say ‘yes’ far too often and I’ve realised why.

Firstly, we’ve been programmed from childhood to say ‘yes’ from when parents asked us to do something. Then, as we grew, saying ‘yes’ meant you got to play in the right gang on the slide or be invited to the cool party. Then let’s fast forward and we find ourselves saying ‘yes’ to all requests in your new job, as you want to be a team player or liked by you boss. And then it’s the ‘yes’ to the PTA cheerleader, because quite frankly, you’re scared! No wonder, we can’t say NO! Isn’t it time though we start to say the ‘N’ word? Some thoughts.

  • Value your time – know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Tell people that: ‘I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.’

  • Know your priorities – even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare right now!), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For me, I know that more commitments = less time with Frank and Harry.

  • Practice saying no – practice makes perfect. Saying ‘no’ as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word.

  • Don’t apologise – a common way to start out is ‘I’m sorry but …’ as people think that it sounds more polite. I’m a culprit here! While politeness is important, apologising (apparently), just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic!

  • Stop being nice – it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time, only hurts you – believe me! When it’s easy for people to grab your time (or money!), they’ll continue to do it. But if you build a wall, they’ll look elsewhere.

  • Pre-empting – it’s easier to preempt requests, rather than saying ‘no’. So perhaps in a meeting/social gathering,  just say to everyone as soon as you come in ‘just to let you know, my week is booked full and I won’t be able to take on anything else’.

It’s time to practice the art of ‘no’ and give ‘yes’ the day off!


Leave a reply