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learning to say no

I find myself saying this quote a lot to my clients. Women, in general, tend to be people pleasers, saying yes to things we really should be saying no to because we’re trying to keep everyone happy.

We overestimate the cost of saying no and underestimate the price of saying yes. We catastrophize in our minds what could happen if we said no (usually around someone being displeased with us in one way or another) while at the same time barely considering the long term effects of our saying yes.

When you’re in leadership the pressure to say yes is even stronger but the price you pay is no less significant and in some cases it might even be higher. Learning to say no is a necessary skill that you have to develop.

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it. Asking yourself a few open-ended questions can help you better process opportunities or requests in front of you.

What does this mean for my family?

Know what you will be asking of your family if you say yes to this opportunity. Ignoring this for the sake of “doing what’s best for them” is unfair to them and to you.

You are better than putting a false bravado on a decision because you’re afraid to do what you actually know is best. Honor your family by considering what it means for them before moving forward.

How does this support the vision I have for my life?

I work with my clients to get clarity around who they are and how they want to show up in the world. I believe as you get clear about the vision you have for your life, including the legacy you want to leave as a leader, it changes how you experience everything.

You have to know what kind of life you are trying to build for yourself and then use it as a filter to decide if saying yes to this request supports that vision.

What will I have to stop doing in order to take this on?

Adding anything to your plate without first taking something off is poor leadership. Overextending yourself is a no win situation for everyone involved.

If you are thinking about taking something on then you also have to decide what you will have to stop doing first. If you can’t think of anything that you can stop doing then saying yes is likely not the right answer.

Who is negatively impacted if I say yes (or no)?

Sometimes the impact of a decision is isolated to only you but often more people are involved that just you. It may not be immediately obvious who is affected by your decision but you owe it to yourself and to those involved to give this some thought.

Honestly assess the potential harm that could arise if you say yes (or no). It might seem a bit drastic to think this way but I assure you asking this question will bring things to light you did not consider before.  

How does this affect my schedule?

If you really have neither the time nor the margin to add anything to your schedule then it is unwise for you to say yes because being stressed out is no fun for anyone. Increase stress leads to a lack of sleep, poor health, and in my opinion, less effectiveness overall.

You are serving no one, least of all yourself, by adding more and more things to your schedule because you won’t say no.

Pay attention to your yeses. Know what it REALLY means for you to say yes to something. It’s not a bad thing to say yes just be sure that you’re not saying no to yourself or to what matters most to you.

Here’s to you rising into your greatness!

From my heart to yours,




If you find yourself struggling to say no and you would like some support let’s chat to see if I might be a good fit for you. Click here to schedule a complimentary discovery session with me today.

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