I’m terrible for saying yes to anything and everything that I’m asked to do. Overtime at work when I’m supposed to be going to a party? Sure! Helping out at a charity event when I’ve made plans to go to the cinema? No problem! Can I do the ironing? I’m meant to be meeting a friend right now but Yes, I’ll do it!
I’m sure you’ve all been there, and it’s even easier to get dragged into things in this 24/7 connected world we live in thanks to text, email invites and Facebook events. We have so many responsibilities spanning many different groups such as work, family, friends and because of this it’s far too easy to spread ourselves thin.
Saying “Yes” to everything may seem ideal – a way to get further up the ladder at work, a way to placate your partner, a way to help your local community.
There seems to be a fear in saying “No”. That we’ll be seen to be letting people down, that it’ll reflect badly on ourselves. Along with this fear there is also the stress and the guilt that goes along with saying “No”: “How will they cope?”, “Who else will do it?”, “Will they think less of me?”.
“No” is such a small, but powerful word.
Why You Need To Learn To Say “No”
We need to learn to be okay with saying “No” so try thinking about these points when weighing up whether you should commit to something:
- Will it directly benefit you? I know this seems selfish but if it doesn’t help you in some way then feel free to say “No”.
- People will think what they want of you whether you help or not. Sorry, but it’s one of those universal truths. People will like you for the 15 minutes that you help them and you’ll be wonderful but after you’ve finished they’ll go back to their original thoughts of you.
- Only you can manage your priorities. You know what’s important, what needs to be done and when. Only agree to something if it fits in with your schedule and other responsibilities.
- You are your Number One priority. Sure, you have a family, friends, pets even but if you spread yourself thin you can end up making yourself ill and then you’ll be no good to anyone. Also, if you agree to something and fail to follow through you’ll have to bear the burden on the stress and guilt caused.
- Understand you’re not being selfish. Your time is as important as anyone else’s, make sure you realise that. Think of all the things you have committed to in the future and past – you’re not being selfish just prudent with your time.
- There are always other opportunities. Sure, they may be few and far between but there are always options. Don’t feel you have to do something right now unless it’s really one of those “once in a lifetime” opportunities.
How To Say “No”
Please just don’t cross your arms and say a flat out “No”! But don’t feel you have to offer an explanation for you decision either – your time is, after all, your time.
The most important thing is to sound reasonable, polite and sincere or people will think you’re saying no for the sake of it without considering your options and trying to weasel out of your commitments.
Give Alternatives: If it’s not a time sensitive thing and you want to help. offer another date or time that suits you better.
Don’t overstretch yourself: If you’re not 100% certain you’re the right person for the job then say so, don’t just say yes because you have the time. If you’re asked to do something that doesn’t fit it with your skill set point them in the direction of someone better suited.
Don’t feel you have to do it: Just because you’re an account doesn’t mean that you need to do your village societies accounts, or you’re a web developer that’s been asked to do a local charities website free of charge… That’s your full time job so feel free to say no. You need to maintain work-life balance – you have a right to time off too!
Don’t feel you have to answer straight away: You should be able to go away and think about whether you’d like to (or are able) to commit to the project or not. Don’t feel pressured to say yes straight away, and if you are that should be a big red flag.
What Do You Think?
Do you say “yes” too easily? Do you over commit? Or are you one of the lucky ones who can say “No” quite easily? Let us know what you think in the comments.
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