How to say no without burning any bridges (When you want to say "YES")Jul 23, 2023
As an empire builder, you often find yourself trying to make the most of every moment.
You pack your days. You say yes to so much that by the end of each day, you’re exhausted. You can’t wait to get home and fall into bed. As you drift off to sleep, you utter expletives at yourself for saying, “Sure!” to every request.
You're overbooked. You don't even enjoy doing the things you’ve said yes to — which compounds your weariness.
Then you start skipping meals, workouts, and time with friends and family. We talked about this last week. When you don’t take care of yourself, what good are you?
It’s time to make a change. Time to be more selective — to learn to say no.
Saying no is hard.
Part of the reason saying no is difficult is that we are conditioned to say yes.
- We have the belief that the secret to success is hard work and discipline. No one taught us that the real key to success begins with learning to say no to some things in order to give an enthusiastic YES! to the things that matter.
- We are worried about what others will think… and say yes to the things we don’t want to do because we’ve been conditioned to be “good girls.”
Another reason that saying no is difficult is because it requires a ton of willpower.
A key ingredient in willpower is brain function. When you're exhausted, your brain doesn’t work as well. Willpower wanes, and if your default when your willpower is low is YES, then you need to be careful about when you make decisions with your time.
Learning to say no with grace is a superpower.
First, you’ve got to know your priorities.
Spend some time reflecting on the things that are important to you, professionally and personally. Look through the pictures on your phone and create a photo album of those that bring you joy. You can use this as a reminder of your priorities.
Second, practice saying no. It may be uncomfortable initially, but you’ll get better the more you do it.
Kate Christie, author of The Life List: Master Every Moment and Live an Audacious Life offers three "non-yes" scripts.
- Unfortunately, I can’t commit to that, but Jane from my team would be great for this project.
- Thank you so much for thinking of me. Let me think about it and I'll let you know.
- Thanks again for the opportunity. Unfortunately, I am working to some deadlines at the moment, but if anything changes I will come back to you.
Need more? Download our 17 Ways to Say No to Say Yes then let us know which ones you like best.
Remember, learning to say no is honoring your commitment to what really matters to you.
This is living a Big Life.
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