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How to Say No When You Want to Say No – In Business and In Life

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Is there anything worse than being asked to do something that you don’t want to do? Saying no doesn’t come naturally for most of us. As human beings, we have been taught to say yes as much as possible. Yes leads to life-changing opportunities whilst no leads to a life of misery and regret…right?

Nope. Saying no does not limit your opportunities, it opens up new, even better opportunities. The inherent desire to people please is etched into us from a very young age and I, for one, am tired of it!

I’m tired of saying yes when I really want to say no. I’m tired of being agreeable just to avoid confrontation. Thankfully, I learned how to say no like a pro and in this post, I’m going to teach you how to do the same and say no when you want to say no in business and life.

Do you want to know how to say no when you want to say no? Watch the video below or read on for more.

Why you should say no more often

Whenever someone asks you to do something that you don’t want to do, how do you respond?

What would you say if a client asked you to drop your prices for them? Or, what if a family member asked for a favour when you’re in the middle of completing the last favour they asked of you?

The voice in your mind is probably screaming nooo but instead of listening to your inner voice and saying no, you say yes. Again. Now, you’re completely overwhelmed, overloaded, and fed up.

So, why did you say yes when you meant no?

Saying no isn’t a bad thing. If you keep saying yes to everyone and everything, you’re potentially missing out on other opportunities. You need to start saying no to people. If a client asks you to do a large amount of work for half the price and you say yes, what’s going to stop them from asking again?

Operating from fear of losing a client and constantly saying yes because of that fear only spells trouble. You need to be in control of your business and stop letting fear dictate how you run your business.

Saying no is a learned behaviour

Your apparent inability to say no isn’t the craziest thing in the world. Believe it or not, we struggle to say no because it is a learned behaviour. Before you come for me, I’m not blaming all of the parents in the world for their children’s inability to say no. The fact is that when we grow up as toddlers, our parents and other authority figures in our life usually told us off when we said no to them. We were reprimanded and taught to be agreeable.

Things didn’t get much better when we started school. As a whole, society teaches us to say yes and be agreeable because agreeable people are kind, compassionate, and generous. They are good people whereas those who say no with ease are more likely to be labelled as rude and rebellious.

However, your ability to say no will help make you a much kinder, compassionate, and all-round better person. If you say no more, and carefully choose who you say yes to, you will be able to serve the people who you do say yes to so much better. You will work at a higher capacity and your overall quality will increase because you’re focusing your energy and effort on the things you actually want to say yes to.

Perceive no as ‘next opportunity’

Every time you say yes to one person you’re saying no to a bunch of other people. Your capacity is not infinite. Once your capacity is full, you can’t keep adding to it. Doing that leads to burnout. Think about it this way – whenever you say no, it’s because you are moving on to the next opportunity.

You are not being rude when you say no. In reality, you are doing the person you are saying no to a favour because you’re not prepared to waste their time. You are being respectful of their time, your own time, and your sanity. By saying no more often and only saying yes for the things that you really want to say yes to, you will be able to do those things to the best of your ability. Whereas if you continue to say yes to everyone and everything, your focus and effort become diluted because you’ve overdone it.

Make strategic decisions

Have you ever heard of the phrase – will it make the boat go faster?

That little gem is one of Ben Hunt Davis’ mottos. If you’ve never heard of Ben Hunt Davis (where have you been?), he was on the British rowing team and won the gold medal at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. In his mind, he had no time for things that did not fuel his goals or moved him closer to his vision. He only made decisions and said yes to things that would make his boat go faster.

I understand that you’re probably not trying to row your way to success but being more selective about how you spend your time and resources is a very wise move for anyone who has a goal in life. Every decision you make inside your business must bring you closer to achieving the vision you have for your business.

I suggest that you start thinking about things from a strategic perspective. Whenever someone asks you a question, ask yourself how will saying yes to that question help move your business closer to your vision. Or, will it take you away from your vision and knock you off the path to success?

Train yourself to ask these types of questions whenever somebody asks you something. If you don’t know what your answer should be right away, do not panic. Do not give in and say yes because someone has put you on the spot. Instead, ask for some time to think about it and let them know that you will have an answer for them soon.

Don’t be afraid to say no!

You should not feel uncomfortable saying no. You are allowed to say no, and you do not need anyone’s permission to do so!

I can’t tell you how many times I have said yes to people in the past when I really wanted to say no. Every single time I did say yes when I meant no, I have regretted it. If your gut is telling you to say no, listen to it. If saying yes to something or someone does not help you edge closer to your goals or your vision, don’t be afraid to say no.

When you say no, you have a few options. You could say no outright and be done with it. Or, you can offer a consolation, such as a counteroffer. You’re still saying no but you are offering them something else. This could be a recommendation where you refer them to somebody else who can help with them with their problem since you are unable to do so at the time of the request.

Now, you might get hit back with this old nugget – “But it’s only this one thing that I need you to do. I’m sure you can do it,” etc. (Cue the eye rolls!)

When people come back at you with this type of response, do not cave and give into them! Simply say ‘Thank you for considering me but I’m sorry, I cannot do it at this time.” There, it’s super simple and that’s all you need to say.

If you feel like you have to go into it further to justify yourself, go ahead but don’t feel like you’re obligated to provide a justification. If you just want to say no and be done with it, do that. You don’t owe anyone an explanation. Respect your value and respect your time and resources.

Learn how to say no more often!

Saying no is not a bad thing. It does not make you a bad person. You only have so much time and capacity, which is why it is so important to only say yes to things that you want to say yes to. Working on things that you do not want to be working on will put you on the fast-track path to burnout.

So, whether you’re faced with a pushy client who wants you to cut your prices or somebody who is asking you to add more work onto your already full plate, know your worth, and don’t be afraid to say no.

Download the FREE flowchart – How To Say ‘No’ When You Want To Say ‘No’ Decision Flowchart – a decision-making flowchart that will have you comfortable saying ‘No’ in ‘no’ time.

Make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more videos!

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