No one likes to be the bad guy, so very often we will find ourselves saying YES to do something, when we really feel like saying NOOOOOO. The thing is if you want to have a life, you really need to learn how to say no.
Here’s why – between your job, working on your passion project and the day-to-day obligations that must be taken care of – you have very little time to do things for you. We may think that the things we do for ourselves can be pushed aside, but it’s not the case. If we don’t re-charge ourselves, we head to epic burnout and then nothing gets done and no one is happy.
So without adding extra stress to your life, how can you say no?
Let’s pretend your neighbor asked you to walk their dog for a week.
1. Check to see how this makes you feel. Do you automatically go to say yes, even though you feel your body contract into a no? That’s the first sign that this is not something you can easily do or want to do. So be aware of these feelings.
2. Why is it a no? Is it because you know you have a busy week ahead and it’s just about timing or is it because walking around town with a pooper-scooper just isn’t your style?
3. If it’s because of the timing is this something you can compromise on? If you truly want to help out, see if you can be creative in the ways you are able to show up—but before suggesting what you can do, be sure you really feel good about what you are about to offer.
4. What if it’s because dogs aren’t your best friend and you just feel put out? Now it’s time to just say no. So you may want to say, “oh Sally, I’m honored you trust Snoopy with me, but it’s just not going to work for me.” If you can think of a relevant alternate solution to help them, by all means make the suggestion.
When saying no, be brief. You don’t have to get into an elaborate detailed story of why you can’t do it. Just a simple “Wow, I wish I could – but I know this week is already very busy for me.”
If someone tries to bulldoze you – stand your ground. Just repeat what you’ve said and maybe consider why you are friends with this person in the first place!
Over time you will see this get easier and easier and you will feel more confident about your choices. And remember, in the words of my mentor Marie Forleo, “Unless it’s HELL yes, it’s a HELL NO!”.
PS:: Remember your time is precious and very valuable. You may look at your schedule and say, well I do have that one open afternoon that I was planning to sit and relax—but then you are breaking a commitment to someone else—YOU! It’s ok to not want to do something. You say you feel guilty? I’m going to be harsh here: get over it; guilt is a very draining and useless emotion.