No is a Complete Sentence and I suggest you use it. All of us have done it and some of us need to do it more often.
While I do agree that there is an art of saying “no”, I also believe that you don’t need to wait until you master the art in order to say no. When dealing with other women, especially in business, I often find that saying “no” is one thing that causes them so much inner turmoil.
Some of us suffer from the “superhero” complex. Although we can do all things, all things are not profitable. There is a season for everything and, even if the request isn’t harmful, there can be various reasons why you should say “no”. Not only should you say no, but without any added emotion, inner struggle or conflict when you do.
There are exemptions to this rule, for instance, when someone is in dire need and your circumstances do not allow you to help in the way you would like. However, when someone asks you to do something that you know isn’t the right fit for you, why should you feel guilty for saying “no”?
Yes, Sally or John might be disappointed because they really wanted your help. Yes, Sally or John might feel like you are selfish and not a true friend for not saying yes. Sally or John may even decide to never talk to you again because you said “no”. But the reality is, more often than not:
1) You are just one person on a long list that Sally or John is making the request to.
2) Your “no” truly doesn’t incite any type of negative reaction or response from him or her.
3) Once you said “no”, Sally or John simply moved onto the next person on the list.
4) Sally or John really didn’t expect you to say yes, but asked because there is no harm in asking.
5) You’ve wasted more time imagining all the bad things that Sally or John now thinks of you than the time he or she spent making the request.
The truth of the matter is you need to ask yourself why you have a problem with saying “no”. “No” is ONE word that you can say a variety of different ways. Even though we are capable of doing “all things”, we shouldn’t do them all at the same time. The entire state of the nation does not rest on your shoulders and the world will run just fine, including Sally or John, the day you die or fall off the face of the earth.
There is no need for you to place such a heavy load on yourself. Aren’t you responsible for enough without adding more burdens and weights on your shoulders? If not, I have someone wonderful opportunities that you can volunteer for. [Start by visiting CrusadingOuteach.org and sign up or drop your information below. (Hey, there’s no harm in asking, remember?)]
But before I leave this conversation, I have not forgotten those of you who say “no” to EVERYTHING! You say “no” so much that you don’t even know what you’re saying “no” to anymore. You don’t even take the time to hear what someone is requesting or to consider the value you can add. You simply say “no” and don’t give it a second thought. Why, my friend, why?
Has the world really been that cruel to you that you have checked out? Has your heart grown so cold that you have no compassion? Are you so angry, bitter and or paranoid that you feel everyone is out to get you or use you? If so, the problem is not them but you. Just like our friends that have a problem with saying “no”, you also are hurting yourself.
The Bottom Line: Everyone was created for a specific purpose and has value to add to any situation that they are a part of. Just as important as it is to decline opportunities that are not a good professional and or personal fit, it is also vital to recognize those opportunities that are. Even if you are in charge of creating that opportunity, eventually you are going to have to partner with someone to pull it off. You will never be able to avoid being asked to do something and “no” is not always the right answer.
I’ll put it this way: it’s simply a matter of knowing your value and discerning how others value you. Some may seek you for certain opportunities because they know what you can bring to the table and consider you an asset. Others might not value you at all and are just looking for someone to fill a space. Either can be used to your advantage and you must decide when you will participate, for how long and on what level.
Don’t assume the worst but also don’t wear blinders:
–Alesha Brown, The Joy Guru
Empowerment Coach, Motivational Speaker and Best Selling Author
CEO, Alesha Brown LLC