I know it is rather cliche “Just say No.” We have heard it for years, say no to drugs, say no to this or that and yet with all of the prompting we have had since we were kids, we still have issues with saying no. Recently I was talking with some young women and how they feel they can’t say no, or have difficulty saying no even if they want to because their schedules are booked. They thought I was lucky because I was older and could say no and not feel like I was ruining my career. The women standing around all agreed, how lucky I was to be older and didn’t have the pressure they were feeling. Do we always feel someone else has it easier? This is what I shared with them which definitely surprised them all. I told them about a discussion I had a few months ago with a friend who is my age. She was saying she feels the pressure to say yes all of the time because she was afraid one day no one will ask her to be involved. She is on so many committees and boards because we all want to feel wanted and needed. It made me stop and think about myself. So, at what age is it appropriate to say NO?
Saying no to someone is saying yes to yourself. Spreading yourself thin so you do not have time for yourself, your family and friends can cause burnout. It can cause stress related health issues.
A few years ago I did learn to say no. A very good friend asked me to be on their board of directors. I was tempted because of our relationship because isn’t that what friends do? That evening I sat down and listed all of the boards, committees, volunteer work of which I was involved. I was blown away to see it in writing. It made it easier to say thanks, but no thanks. I cannot make that commitment at this time. When I added the list of things I need to do for myself, my family and my business, I was astounded. There are only 24 hours in a day. Don’t short change yourself, don’t spread yourself too thin so when opportunities arise, you are able to take advantage of them.
Call to action
- List all of the things you are doing right now. Include the personal things you and only you can accomplish.
- Do you have extra time to take on one more thing?
- Why do you feel compelled to say yes?
- Practice saying No – not I am sorry, but – just no. Believe it or not, you don’t owe the person an explanation.
And remember saying no to someone or something, you are saying yes to you.
Here are some other tips for saying no
Be open to the possibilities and by saying no, you leave yourself time to explore them!