How do I learn to say NO and be ok with it?”

Can you relate to this question? It can be really difficult to say “no” to others- our family, customers, team members. 

Personally, I’m a “yes let’s do it” person! So, “no and being ok with it” feels impossible to me. 

The real question that we need to ask ourselves is, “if I’m saying yes to this, what am I saying no to?” Once we know what the trade-off is, it’s not really saying “no,” it’s saying, “I choose this other thing instead.”

Here are some examples:

  1. Saying yes to your kid asking for a sandwich during your outreach time means saying no to new customers and possibly the vacation you are working up to earning money for. 
  2. Saying yes to your team member who wants you to coach their team for them means saying no to recruiting people for your business. 
  3. Saying yes to scrolling through Facebook for hours means saying no to exercise.
  4. Saying yes to being the community coordinator of all social events means saying no to your retirement that your business is responsible for. 

It feels different when you think about your “yes” and “no” responses like that, doesn’t it?

Understanding the trade-offs really helps us to make good decisions about how we spend our time and energy. 

I have a few other ideas that help me and also have helped my clients. Maybe one of them will be useful for you. 

  1. Be proactive in deciding on goals for your business, and availability. For example, I know I can have 6-7 1-on-1 clients at a time before I start to run out of steam. If I say yes to an 8th client, I say “no” to a sharp mind, or the ability to take a day off when there is a 3 day weekend. So then my response can be, “I’d love to and we will be glad to put you on a waitlist for the next time I have an opening.”
  2. Use this verbiage: “I would love to, but my project list is currently full. Can we connect later on this so I can give my full attention?” 
  3. Role modeling is better than putting out fires. My ego loves putting out fires. It makes me feel very important. My ego doesn’t like creating stuff that might be met with a “no thank you.” We need to ask ourselves, “would we want our children or team members to respond the way we do?” Of course, sometimes there are actual emergencies, but we need to be able to tell the difference. Just imagine what message this response would send to your team member, “I can definitely help you and I’m in the middle of outreach right now. Can we connect in 45 min after I’ve scheduled a few appointments?” They might schedule some appointments!
  4. Transparency in tasks helps. I like to be specific with the things I put in my calendar as the dates get closer. Instead of “outreach” try “schedule 1 appointment and connect with 10 people.” Then it’s easier to say, “here is exactly what I’m working on…” My kids have always had full transparency into the inner workings of our business, including sales performance. This is for a few reasons. First, someone is going to inherit the company and they will need to know how it works. Second, when they understand WHY it normalizes things for them and they don’t feel ignored.

Overall I think that organizing our commitments and putting them in a calendar (including the activities that aren’t appointments) helps us to be more realistic with what we can and can’t do. So then we can kindly respond with “wait,” “I’m not going to be able to do a good job with that,” or “I’m so sorry, I’m not going to have the time to do that, can you find someone else who has the time?”

They aren’t really “no responses” but they feel better and are more honest than simple “no.” I think giving people reasons is super helpful to keep everyone on the same page.

I hope this was helpful for you today! Tasha

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