In last week’s blog, we talked about saying “yes” with enthusiasm. If you are going to be able to say “yes” with enthusiasm, you have to practice saying “no” with confidence (or if you aren’t yet confident, keep practicing and you will become more confident!). How many times have you said “no” but then someone persuaded you to change your mind or you felt guilty and thought you were letting others down so you took back your “no?” Remember from our “power of pausing” blog, whenever you say “yes” you are by default saying “no.” Even if this is something you have struggled with doing in the past. Today is a new day! Join me this week as I highlight three things to practice in order to say “no” with confidence.
- Evaluate and keep visible what is most important to you. Look at your goals, your ideal week, your highest priorities and keep them in front of you. I’ve mentioned previously that I really like the Full Focus PlannerⓇ and this is one tool that could be helpful for you keeping the most important things in your life visible. It can be really simple, too. You can write on a post-it note near your desk your most important priorities (and this doesn’t need to only focus on work priorities). If family is one of your top priorities, then write it down and use it as a filter to help you say “no” with confidence!
- Schedule time for what is most important to you. This is where the “ideal week” can be important and making sure that you put those most important priorities on your calendar. For me, I primarily use an electronic calendar so I block time to work on my most important priorities. This also includes the “shut-down” time for my work each day that helps me transition into other priorities. This may seem simple, but if you have scheduled time to work on your most important priorities and to spend time with your most important people, when people ask, “Are you available?”, you can review your calendar and confidently say “no” if you are not available. And you can use the line I mentioned previously from Michael Hyatt’s “no” response, “In order for me to fulfill my existing commitments, I cannot…..” Even if that commitment is time for you to journal and reflect, that IS a commitment and it’s ok to say “no” to other opportunities.
- Be a connector. If you have worked in coalitions or non-profits for very long, it can become easy to think that you are the only one who can help or “do” something important in order to move things forward. That is not true! While we may be appreciated and the work we do is very important, we do not have to be the only ones doing the work. Also, if we always say “yes,” we are keeping others who may be well-suited for an opportunity from experiencing that opportunity and the benefits of helping others. When someone asks you to do something or be part of a group that doesn’t align with what is most important to you, one way you can say “no” is to refer that person to someone else. You can be a connector rather than an over-committer! 🙂
For a “recovering people pleaser,” saying “no” with confidence may not come easy, but as you practice and keep trying when new opportunities arise, you can get better! As you find yourself able to fully say “yes” with enthusiasm, you are able to say “no” with confidence because you have already said yes to what matters most!
What are you going to say “no” with confidence to this week?
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