Say it with me now- NO! We are a long way off from being back in junior or middle school – but those days should have taught us about ways of saying ‘no’ and provided a useful foundation – the trouble is we’ve all been shaped in a certain way over the last 10, 20 years and these days saying ‘no’ is almost a crime.
On the flip side – Saying “yes” to everything can get us into trouble, maybe not immediately, but over time. Saying “yes” all the time simply wears your body and mind down, makes you stretch yourself too thinly and puts you in a position whereby you cannot fully commit to any of your obligations.
Do you know how to say “no”?
Of course you do, but do you say it at a time and in a way that really matters? Just so you know – you are not alone. Time and time again, we are told to say YES – to new experiences, new opportunities, new ideas, extra work… but becoming a “yes droid” will only wear you down over time.
Can you say no, without being seen as difficult?
Absolutely- simply explain yourself clearly and use facts. State why you cannot say yes – people respect honesty. With that said, you should not apologise for saying no, as that can make you appear weak.
Will saying ‘no’ close the door on other opportunities?
As long as you handle each situation with grace and honesty, everybody should understand your position and that you are busy. You are not always required to give a “reason” for your inability to commit to the opportunity and it should not really be up for discussion, but that does not have to have an impact on your future prospects.
Simply put, saying no can and will empower you – it gets easier every single time. Nobody can do it all, why do you feel like you have to? Be honest, graceful, and polite – that’s all anybody can ask.