You know that little project you agreed to complete because your boss/spouse/friend said it would only take a minute? Or the lengthy phone call with someone who only rings when s/he is in crisis…yet again? Elective activities can be exhausting and stressful. Let’s learn how to say “No.”
Saying “no” is not easy, but we are modern, savvy individuals who know that setting boundaries is the key to our success. “No” is a part of establishing those limits so we have room to breathe and achieve. If you are ready to do the one thing that will help you get stress out of your life, follow these 5 easy steps.
1. Acknowledge. If someone asks you to do something, it is likely because they have faith you can do it or they like you enough to want to spend their time with you. If spearheading a new project or attending that party makes your heart sink instead of sing, first acknowledge the person’s thoughtfulness for having considered you. Example: “I appreciate you for considering me.”
2. Express gratitude and interest. Thank the person for his or her invitation, then show interest in the project itself. Ask questions pertaining to the person’s request. Most often, people just want to feel important enough for you to listen. Example: “What does it require? How much time do you expect it to take?”
3. Decline. Once you have acknowledged the person’s request and expressed your gratitude for the consideration, politely decline with a few simple words. You needn’t make excuses when someone asks you to do something you’d rather not. Example: “It sounds like a wonderful opportunity that I am going to have to miss.”
4. Offer alternatives. If someone remains persistent in pursuing his or her request, offer up alternatives. Remain firm. Be careful not to get too involved in this area or you might find yourself volunteered into the project after all. Example: “Well, have you considered asking anyone else, who may be available?”
5. Remember this: If you still struggle with declining people’s requests, stick a note on your mirror that reminds you that saying “no” to someone else is actually saying “yes” to yourself. Repeat it like a mantra until it becomes second nature. And if that doesn’t work, tell yourself that “no” is indeed a complete sentence. Do not offer apologies. Example: “My answer must still be no.”
Saying “no” is a lot like flossing. You may not notice an immediate impact, but, over time, you will appreciate the difference it can make in your life. With the “Power of No” by your side, you will have liberated your personal bank account of time for what matters most…you!