Learning the power of “no”

Raise your hand if this sounds like you: I have a habit of saying “yes” to everything that is asked of me, because I am a people-pleaser and chronic do-gooder.

Count me among that group. Is it me, or do women have an especially hard time with this? 

One good thing about moving down to Orlando is that I was able to start fresh as far as networking and volunteering goes. And going forward, I’m being very careful about what I say “yes” to, and learning the power of “no.”

I found a great article recently on Shine from Yahoo: How To Say No.

The article says to follow these 5 steps:

1. Find Your Yes. My ‘yes’es include time with my husband and dog, and going forward, time to get healthy. I also have to have time on a regular basis at my Happy Place — Disney World. If I can come home from work and have time for a jaunt to the dog park, dinner with hubs and a workout session, then I’m a very happy girl — which means leaving work by 5:30 each day. And if on the weekends, I can get out and enjoy a local event, some time at the pool or at my Happy Place, then I am also happy and fulfilled — which means turning down some events or parties that I feel obligated to go to just because I was asked to.

2. Buy Some Time. This means don’t respond right away to everything that is asked of you. I was asked about a month ago to speak at UCF’s SPJ chapter. I took a couple days to decide on my time commitment, because I was in the middle of transitioning jobs. Ultimately, this was a ‘yes’ for me, as it was a chance for me to visit a new college campus and possibly get to know some college students, which I love interacting with. But definitely from now on, I am going to ‘sit’ on decisions for things I am asked to do — nobody really expects you to answer right away!

3. Deliver Your No With Grace and Resolve. I delivered a ‘no’ recently to an acquaintance who was interested in having us rent their house. And while it was a great house, it didn’t fit our need of having a garage. Being the people-pleaser that I am, I hated to deliver the bad news! But guess what — it was no big deal. They’ll find a renter soon enough, and we need a house that fits our needs.

4. Have a Plan B. Luckily, I can’t think of many situations in which I said ‘no’ and someone reacted badly. But if someone does, I plan to listen and repeat my ‘no’ in a firm but gentle manner.

5. Cut Yourself Some Slack. I always, always feel guilty when I say ‘no.’ But it’s always a bigger deal to me than it is the other party. Basically, I just have to Get Over It!

Have you learned to say ‘no’? What are your ‘yes’es?

1 thought on “Learning the power of “no””

  1. This is SO me! I had to enact the "power of no" when someone "asked" me (by placing a meeting invite on my calendar…) to be in a video shoot. While yes, I technically had the time free…I am not comfortable being in a video and signing a release that these images could then be used in other places. I was so nervous but I went to the organizer and told her "no" and you’re right…she acted like it was no big deal that I declined, but I completely agonized over it and worried about disappointing her.


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