Good morning ladies, grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair and listen in, this is the Sassy Moments Podcast. Moment # 15 – The power of saying no.
So many of the women I coach have a really hard time saying ‘No,’ even when they are fully aware they are overwhelmed and sleep deprived.
The power of saying ‘No,’ is not a new concept. Nor is the idea that when you say ‘yes’ to an activity you are also saying ‘no’ to another activity.
But… How can you say no gracefully? Learning how to say no is a really crucial skill to develop if you want to have a joyful and meaningful life. Back to one of my fav quotes from Socrates – “Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” How can you say no to so many good things? Only by knowing yourself and your unique gift and your own priorities.
Perhaps the most important thing to know is that it takes courage to say no. It takes courage to go against our survive-in-a-tribe mentality. We want to fit in, and we do that by saying yes, even when we know we would rather not. When was the last time you declined an invitation by simply saying no with no additional explanation. It takes a lot of nerve – to just say “no, but thanks for asking.” We feel compelled to offer up an explanation.
Here are a few say no strategies…
Buy yourself some time – pause before you answer reflexively… “Let me check my calendar and get back to you…”
Figure out how to say no without using the word no – “Hey thanks for thinking of me, but I am over committed right now.” Or “That’s a really great idea, I am unable to help out but wish you success.” Or “My schedule is already packed. I already have plans but thanks for asking.”
Let go of FOMO – fear of missing out. It is really hard to say no to good things. The best way to avoid this trap is to recognize the trade off – When you say yes to something you are saying no to something else. This brings me to the brilliant idea of a no journal – a game-changer idea for women who struggle to prioritize themselves.
Keep a No Journal for 30 – 60 days and track all the asks you say ‘no’ to, then see how much time it opens up in the future for the activities that truly matter the most to you.
Keeping a journal, specific for when you say ‘no,’ is such a great idea. It helps you track reclaimed time in your future, time that would otherwise have been spent on the activity you said ‘no’ to. Brilliant.
That reclaimed no-time, is in a way, free-time. It has been prioritized, based on your values and goals. So instead of finding yourself at a charity dinner to help save the whales – something your best friends’ wifes’ first cousin is passionate about – you are sharing some quality time with your daughter.
Here’s what to do. Start tracking when you say ‘no.’ Whenever someone asks you to do something and you gracefully say ‘no,’ write that request down – give it a date and include a simple one liner of the request, perhaps who made it, or what it was about. Just start a list – perhaps on your phone or a page in your calendar. For example – January 10th, declined request to attend save the whales charity dinner for 31 January 7 – 10pm.
Then on your calendar, ‘ghost’ out the time you would have taken to keep that commitment if you had said ‘yes.’ In this example that is January 31 from 7 – 10 pm. This is the time you have reclaimed for your future self. When you schedule that ghosted time with some other activity, in this example dinner with your daughter, this is the activity you would have been saying ‘no’ to, if you had said ‘yes’ to the original request.
Get it? Keep track of the activities you say no to, reclaiming that future time for higher priority activities.
With time you may find that people are making fewer requests, as your priorities become clear to everyone as well as to yourself.
A No journal – what a great tool for uncovering the power of ‘No.’ Give it a try. Reclaim time for your future self.
Don’t say no to this game changer idea.
Talk again soon.
Live Life, Love Life, Always…