I recently had a request to do a training for a group of pharmacists and I had to say no. It was a great opportunity and something I love to do, but I didn’t have the bandwidth to take it on. What’s interesting though is I knew that as soon as the request came in, but I thought about it for a while before saying no, trying to rationalize how I could do it. And when I said no, I felt like I had to offer an explanation as to why I was saying no. After it took me a few days to decide to say no, I then took some time to craft my response. As I was typing, I had to take a second and pause to remind myself of this very important point… Pay attention because I don’t want you to miss it.
No is a complete sentence.
I immediately deleted all the extra and kept my email to 2 sentences. And guess what? I actually felt relieved by the brevity. The additional text was creating more weight and I was feeling anxiety around sending this email because of it.
Has that ever happened to you? Where you felt like you had to explain why you were saying no? Or maybe the idea of saying no left you feeling so anxious that you said yes out of some sort of obligation, fear of disappointing them, or just because “yes” felt easier.
But wait! The feelings of disappointment don’t stop with the yes. Even though you don’t have time for the thing you just agreed to, you still want to do a good job. And so you sacrifice yourself and your goals for someone else’s. Then you look back a year from now, like what the hell?! You still haven’t checked the same goal off your list for 2 years straight. And yes, you’re right, you’ve been busy, busy doing stuff for everyone else but you.
Remember every time you say yes to one thing, you are saying no to something else.
No to time with your family, no to your health, no to time for yourself. There is always a corresponding reaction for every action. But no worries, I’m here to help you start saying no to the shit you don’t want to do anyway….
Here’s how to start telling people no….
Never answer immediately. Always think about it, look at your calendar, and weigh your priorities. If it’s in alignment with your priorities, then great. If not, then consider whether this is important for you to do right now. Notice I said now. You can always come back to it after you take care of what you need for you. People will press you to give them an answer on the spot, and you’ll feel like you have to, but never do that. We sometimes say yes for fear of missing out, but that kind of fear is not a good foundation for making decisions.
Prioritize you first. As moms, we tend to not do that, but if you’re not at your best, you’re not helping anyone. If nothing else, you are teaching your children the importance of prioritizing those things that are important to them. Lead by example.
If the answer is no, just say no. You don’t need to explain, just say “no thank you, I can’t take that on right now.” If people can’t respect that, then you’re in the wrong group of people. If someone treats you some type of way for being honest, then say thank you again, because they just showed you who they really are, and now you know to keep your contact with them to a minimum.
The next time someone asks you to do something you don’t want to do, try those three things and let me know how it goes. And if you have other ways you say no to stuff you don’t have the capacity to do, share in the comments below!