The Power of Saying No

Saying no is one of the most powerful practices you can do to help you Be Successful! Here are 5 helpful tips on saying no.

  1. Get Comfortable with Saying No

Saying no to things can help you be effective in carrying out your most important goals and priorities. You need to be clear on what you want.  When you have goals and priorities and you focus on them, it is easier to say no to things that are not on your goals or priorities list. If someone asks you to do something, ask yourself this question.  Will this help me accomplish my goals?  If it doesn’t, don’t do it. Saying no to things can help you say yes to the important things-your goals, your work, your spouse, your kids, your health, your rest.  These are the highest and best things you want to say yes too.

You do not have unlimited time.  For most of us our to-do lists are longer than time allows. Therefore, you need to be selective on choosing the things that will help you reach your goals. What is the highest and best use of your time? If you want to be an effective leader you have to be able to say no to some things so you can say yes to the most important things.

Saying no has so many benefits: it can reduce your work overload and your level of stress, and you’ll have time to do what really matters to you.

Sometimes a no is important for your mental well-being, your health, your family, your work.  It goes against conventional wisdom, but no is a good word. You need to use it.

  1. You Need to Say No to Yourself

I think it is important to be able to tell yourself no.  Living a self-disciplined life requires you to be able to say no to things you personally do.  You have to be able to say no to time wasters so you have time to exercise or spend time with your family or improve your skills.  You have to be able to say no to vices that can lead you down a destructive path.

You have to be able to say no to another piece of cake or that second scoop of ice cream so you can maintain a healthy weight.

You have to say no to some spending so you can have a comfortable retirement.

You have to be able to say no to worthless TV or too much social media or more golf or more fishing so you can say yes to your kids, your spouse, your work, and your most important goals.

You cannot be successful if you do not learn to say no to yourself. You must have self-control and self-restraint, they are critical and key to your success.  You cannot be successful if you do not master the ability to say no to yourself.

We don’t like telling ourselves no.  It’s hard, but it’s necessary if you are going to live a disciplined and effective life.  We live in a society that says yes to everything and the idea of denying yourself anything is crazy.

Can you say no to yourself?  Can you say no to yourself and stick to it?  Can you say no to something because it wastes your time and your money?

  1. You Need to Say No to Others

You may have heard people say there are two words that lead to your success- those words are yes and no.  For most of us we have the Yes word figured out.  We are good at the yes and need to work on the no. We get so many requests from others; other’s plans, other’s events, other’s ideas and yes is the easy answer we give.  But your success depends on your ability to say no to others.

Jack Canfield once said, “If you are constantly saying yes to other people, then you are constantly saying no to yourself and your goals. Ask yourself if what is being requested of you is in line with your goals, will it benefit you in some way and bring you closer to your success, or will you simply be spending your time on someone else’s good opportunity?”

How much time do you waste on other’s projects and activities that you really don’t want to do just because you are uncomfortable with saying no to others?

Success depends on getting good at saying no. You cannot get ahead with your own goals if you are always saying yes to other’s plans. Many times, you can’t get to the best things you need to be doing because you said yes to other people’s goals.

It is also important to say no to unproductive people, unproductive lunches and unproductive meetings that just waste your time.

  1. Saying No is Hard

Why is it hard? Because sometimes it means saying no to things that are good (like helping someone), so you can spend time on even better priorities.  It’s that age-old question Good vs Great. Almost every request is a good request and it is hard to say no to good stuff. It’s hard because we want to help and because we want to help we want to say yes, not no. We don’t want to be selfish.

It is hard for people to say no to themselves and to others. It’s hard to say no to our kids. It takes strength and courage. We are very concerned about what other people think about us. Sometimes we are too concerned.   We want people to like us and think positively about us. We don’t want to disappoint people. This means that many of the decisions we make are based on the opinions of others or what others think we should do, not on what is best for us.  Saying yes is easier than saying no.

  1. You Need to be Kind and Gracious When Saying No

You need to use tact. Maybe that means not using the word no. Instead of saying no, you say, that won’t fit into my schedule right now.

If no is difficult to say, there are other ways to state it. For instance: “I choose not to,” “not at this time” and “that will not work for me” are all different ways to say no.

It is important to start with a positive statement first.  For example: I love that idea, but I can’t be involved at this time.  You are so kind to think of me, but I am booked that day.  Oh, I wish I could, but I made a promise to my wife.   That is a great project, but I am tied up with this. I would love to hear what you are doing, but my schedule is full today.

They all have positive opening statement in them.  Don’t over-think it or over-complicate it, because the more you think about it the more time is wasted.  Just hit it and move on, but you need to be kind and gracious.

It is alright to embrace the no. Practice the no. Prepare for the no.  It is one of the most important words to come out of your mouth.

Saying no is OK.  You shouldn’t feel guilty. Saying no, does not mean you are rude. Learn to say no to things, yourself and others so you can say yes to the highest and best things in your life.

Remember the best way to learn how to say no is to practice. Go out and say no to something! I challenge you to use the power of no today. Say no to something so you can Be Successful!