Know when to
These two words do not have to be harsh and it saying no doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does take some practice. Women especially have a hard time when it comes to saying no; to our families, in ministry, and at work.
It’s in our nature to say yes, we are the people pleasers, the nurturers, it makes us feel good. If you add a good amount of guilt for not being able to do it all, and we can quickly become overwhelmed, which ultimately helps no one.
When you are asked to help with the bake sale or be a classroom helper at your child’s school, or teach a class at church, it’s perfectly acceptable to say I need to check my availability/calendar/with my family. Pausing to consider your current obligations, rather than jumping in with a quick answer, can help in the decision-making process.
Is this a long term/ongoing obligation? Can it be completed quickly in your own time? Is the deadline reasonable? Will this cut into your precious family time?
“It’s in our nature to say YES,…”Mary Tepas
At the office, you need to be a bit more discerning on who you say yes and no to. The coworker that always does the bare minimum wants your help on a report? That is probably an easier no than the boss you are wanting to impress.
Be strategic with your answers. Will saying yes help you get that next promotion, or gain you a spot on that special projects team? Then by all means, say yes! If your goal is to become CEO of a large corporation, the number of times you say yes will probably outnumber those times you say no.
There will be times that you can say no to your boss, you just need to be tactful in your approach. When saying no to your boss make sure you come to them with alternative solutions to getting the job done. Be positive and firm. Leaders love solutions, not complaints.
If after considering all your obligations, you still need to say no, don’t feel like you need to apologize. An apology puts you in a position where the person asking can perceive you as insincere. A better way of saying, I’m sorry I can’t “fill in the blank”, would be to say my plate is so full, I just can’t take this on right now. It shows them that you took the time to weigh your obligations.
When you practice saying no, what you are really saying is yes to spending time with those you love, yes to having some “me time”, yes to being less stressed.
This is not about being selfish, it about knowing your value and your priorities.