The Power of No

I want to check in with you. How are you doing? It is this time of year when school is back, we are settled back into work, and the buzz of the summer break has worn off, that I find many people are starting to feel that things are getting a little bit out of control. They are finding themselves saying yes, a lot. Yes, to friends; yes, to the family; and yes, to work (especially work they don’t love).  While they are constantly saying yes, it makes it difficult to have clarity and focus. 

Let me ask you this question, “what have you said yes to when you should have said no?” This is something that we are all guilty of doing. A majority of people feel compelled to say yes, the reasons for this varies from person to person, however there is a need for more people to learn the power of saying no. 

As a business owner or employee, what happens when you say yes to work you don’t want to do? Don’t get me wrong, sometimes we just have to suck it up and get a job we don’t love done right? But what I am really talking about is work that doesn’t align with your values, work that is uninspiring and deflating? It results in a lack of clarity and focus. Your important time and energy is being spent doing things that do not spark passion and do not align with your purpose. 

Not only can saying yes, all the time make it difficult to have clarity and focus, the reason for saying yes can stem from not having clarity and focus.  

Let me tell you about Kaylee. Kaylee started her own business out of an opportunity that was presented to her that she felt too good to pass up. The problem was that while she had a vague idea of the services, she would offer clients, she didn’t have clarity surrounding this and as a result was saying yes to any job opportunity that was presented to her. This led to her having too many things to focus on with no one real focus, resulting in a ridiculous sense of overwhelm. We chatted and were able to get some clarity around her passion and purpose. She was then focused and able to say no to the work that didn’t align with her, resulting in her no longer feeling overwhelmed. 

The feeling of overwhelm can be a very unproductive emotion that causes us to be scattered, unfocused and paralysed. Having clarity and focus will assist in ensuring that you can relieve yourself of overwhelm and focus on more positive emotions. 

So, how do I go about saying no? I remind myself that if I say yes to something, it actually means that I am saying no to something else by default, so I need to be sure the thing I am saying yes to, really is something I want to do. 

I also listen to my intuition. If your gut says no, you need to pay attention to it. If it says no and then you say yes anyway, you will feel out of alignment, this could outwork in a physical sense (feeling sick in the stomach, having a headache etc). 

Because we like to be people pleasers, we tend to default to yes. I believe that people actually don’t mind you saying no if they understand the reasoning behind it (for those in small business, you may not need to give a reason but for those in organisations, this may be a little trickier). When it is a clear “NO”, explain why – “I can’t take on this piece of work right now because I am at capacity, however, I can refer you to . . . ” 

Keeping in mind that saying no is not about not being nice, it’s about setting boundaries for yourself and others. 

Build your “no” muscle. Saying no is like anything else, it’s hard to do to start with, but gets progressively easier with practice. 

Are you ready to start saying no and clearing the overwhelm?  

I would love you to take part in my Say “NO”Challenge. This challenge gives you simple tips to implement saying “no” into your life one step at a time.

Book in for a discovery call. Let’s chat for 20 minutes and see how I can help you clear the overwhelm! 

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Emma also has a podcast.