Why do some people find it hard to say “NO”?
I used to have a hard time saying “no.” I would always be asked to do many things like bake a cake free of charge; or help with putting together a strategic plan or project right down to attending / speak at (for free) conferences and go to meet-ups and events.
I would also get plenty of emails from people (and still do) that always wanted to “pick my brain” about things they were working on. For a while I would go and fulfil the requests to speak at conferences as I could, meet with as many people as possible, go to all the meet-ups, and make myself as available as possible.
However, over time I realized that I started to get worn out and stressed out and that none of these things were actually benefiting me. And then one day whilst attending a medical appointment, my doctor turned round and asked me to give him a run down of a typical week in my working life.
After telling him everything and showed him my diary that was full for the following 3 months. He turned round looked me in the eye and just said “NO, No, No”. He told me off for being overworked and totally drained; and moreover for the fact that I have allowed this to happen. I was confused and just said “OK”. He then threatened to write me off work for two months if I didn’t slowdown.
Maybe I should have listened, 3 weeks later I was in a car accident. Although it wasn’t my fault, I soon realised that maybe I need to slow down. I had became so overworked and stressed out from saying “yes” to everything. I didn’t want that to become non existent in my own life so I had to make a change and that change was learning how to say “no.”
I really do try to help as many people as I can and I usually respond to every email but I have become much more selective about where my time goes. I usually don’t attend a conference unless it’s relevant and I am being paid to speak there; I don’t go to meet-ups anymore and I turn down most offers from people who want to “pick my brain.” I have worked hard enough to be a bit more selfish with my time.
So what’s the point of me telling you this? I think it’s crucial for all of us to learn how to say “no.” I don’t mean just saying “no” to everything that comes your way, I mean understanding where you are in your life and in your career and figuring out where you should be and want to be spending your time.
The expectation of the business world of work is going to be about more distractions, more connections, more technology, more communication, more collaboration, and more of everything!
It’s better to learn how to say “no” to things now before you find yourself completely under water. By saying “no” to the things that are distractions you will have more time to say “yes” to the things that can impact your career and your life in a positive way. Whilst at the same time becoming a stronger and redefined you.
I just love the word NO! It has now become one of my favourite words. Embracing the power behind this word and still achieving amazing results is and has been empowering.
So what say you?
As we all begin the new working week, how many of you are going to say “yes” because you always have or you are expected to?
Or say “NO” because you can to expectations or things that are not really relevant to you and yours.
Have an amazing week……..
Denise Brown is a strategic thinker and writer.