5 ways to help you say no
“What you don’t do determines what you can do.” -Tim Ferris
It's hard saying no. I've said yes to too many wrong things many times...I'm sure you've done it too.
We all want to please people and not be perceived as selfish or difficult.
SAYING YES TO ALL THE THINGS WE DON'T WANT TO DO CREATES RESENTMENT AND EVENTUALLY LEADS TO UNAVOIDABLE BURNOUT.
Life's too precious for that kind of energy!
If you've been used to always saying yes like me, I want to let you know that there is still time to turn things around. It will take some practice but it's worth it.
Here are 5 tips that can help.
1. Do I really want this?
It's important to ask yourself if you actually want to do something. This comes before any other step. You'll instinctively know your answer. If your initial gut reaction is no, trust that, it's what you should do. Stop right there before excuses start filling your brain as to why you should say yes...Congrats! This is a crucial step because you've consciously recognised that you don't want to do something which will make it easier to start saying no to things.
2. Change your perspective.
If you've decided that you don't want to do something but still feel the FOMO (fear of missing out) try changing the way you think about the situation. Instead of worrying about what you'll miss out, think of what you'll gain from doing what you want instead. You won't go to the party but you'll gain hours of sleep, along with a rested body and mind. You'll skip that networking event, but you'll be able to work on your blog and reach potential customers by posting your new article. It's all about viewing a potentially negative situation, as an opportunity for something better.
3. Be kind to yourself.
We've been used to pleasing people since we were children. We were taught that "no" means we did something wrong, which usually is accompanied by shame and guilt. If you understand that saying no isn't a negative reflection on you as a person but rather a conditioned situation you were trained to experience, you'll find it easier to not be so harsh on yourself.
Don't feel like you aren't strong enough if you can't do ALL THE THINGS. No one can do that, even if they want to make you think they can. You're much stronger when you set boundaries. Saying yes to everything sets you up for failure because you'll eventually burn out.
Accept that you can't do it all, not because you're not capable, but because no one can or even should!
4. Offer an alternative
I know we fear being disliked when we say no. But offering an alternative really helps and makes us feel less crappy about disappointing others.
For example, if a friend invites you out to a party you can say: "Thanks but I really can't make it. So let's plan dinner next week at that Thai place you love, so we can get a chance to catch up!"
Or if someone asks you to help out on a project : "I'm honored you'd want me to work on that but unfortunately I'm not able to help. I do recommend so-and-so, she's extremely talented and I think would be a perfect fit."
In both situations you've validated each person's request, in which case they won't feel rejected, while also providing them with an alternative solution. You won't be as disliked as you think after all!
5. Practice strengthening your "No Muscle"
If you've ever done physical strength training you'll immediately connect with this one. The "No Muscle" needs to be trained in order to become stronger with time, just like any other skill. Try doing these as often as you can.
asking for the right order if they messed up your coffee/food instead of accepting it as is. You'll be uncomfortable at first because you don't want to seem too difficult. But they made the mistake, not you! Politely ask for what you initially ordered.
telling a friend/sibling/spouse you're trying to become better at saying no and have them randomly ask you for (fake! haha) favors so you can decline out loud. This will help you get used to hearing yourself say no without the guilt!
not accepting any flyers or anything street vendors hand out to you. Say "no thanks" and keep walking instead of taking what is handed out.