I’m not sure where my need to say yes comes from…..it could be that all British politeness of not wanting to offend anyone or just that I like to please others but I know it’s in there. For years all you had to do was ask for a favour, ask me to help with something and I’d be there. Even if that put me in a right spot or left me with no time for something I really wanted or needed to do, I would still get this overwhelming need to say yes. And I know I’m not the only one. So many of us seem to be hard-wired to say yes in even the most impossible circumstances.
But constantly saying yes isn’t all that helpful………we end up stressed out with a to do list we physically can’t get through, with conflicting priorities and a total lack of focus because we don’t know which way to turn. And those feelings of inadequacy that we all experience from time to time can be massively added to. Not to mention the fact that sometimes by saying yes we create the overwhelming circumstances where we’re unable to do the thing we’ve said yes to letting the other person down. It’s just not good!
What would happen if you used the forbidden word ‘no’ sometimes? And more importantly, what would you do with the precious time you’d free up by saying no?
There’s no need to be nasty about it!
Of course I’m not suggesting that you go around rudely shouting no in everyone’s face! That would be, well quite frankly, just rude. But I am suggesting that a no response, said in a very polite and friendly manner is completely and totally acceptable. Really!
Ditch the guilt
Think about it, if you asked someone to do something for you and they very politely explained that they were unable to do it at this time, would you feel mortally offended? Would you never speak to them again or find ways of punishing them for the rest of their life? Of course not (well, at least I hope not!) and that’s how others will feel when you say no. There may be a momentary feeling of disappointment that they haven’t been able to offload the thing they were asking, but, of course that will be swiftly followed by a recognition that it’s their thing and they need to find another way to sort it.
What would you gain?
If you prioritised your yes’s and learnt to say polite no’s, what would you gain? A bit of extra time to spend with your loved ones; more focus to get stuff done; less distractions; more productivity; less feelings of inadequacy; less conflict and more peace in your life and that feeling of accomplishment when you end your day with a completed to do list. But you’d also gain something you may not be expecting. You see when you do say yes because it fits in with your priorities and you have the capacity, you are able to give it and the person who’s asking the right level of focus. And that’s going to make you both feel good!
Yes or No?
It’s always tricky to do something new so here’s a few things to think about as you contemplate using the big no!
- Are you able to say no? If it’s your boss asking, or your bosses boss or something for your kids then it may not be appropriate to decline
- Is it something you’re actually capable of doing?
- Do you physically have the time?
- What will you have to move or sacrifice if you say yes and is it worth it?
- Does it fit in with your current priorities and goals?
- What will you get out of saying yes?
Don’t overcomplicate it, I’m a huge fan of the no-brainer scenario so if it’s a definite yes or a definite no don’t sweat it, just go with it. Bit if it’s not, then don’t reach straight for yes, take a moment to work out what answer actually works for you.