How To Stop Saying Yes When You Want To Say No
It’s always easier to say ‘Yes’ because most of us want to please other people. Somebody asks you to spend an hour editing their self-published book about dingoes, or present a speech at a business dinner for free, or MC an event you have no desire to attend. Even though your inner voice is screaming NO, you find the word ‘Yes’ slip from your lips.
When it comes to business, the art of saying ‘No’ should be a no-brainer. But time and time again even the most experienced business person will find themselves in a weak moment where they agree to do something they’d rather not.
Collective Hub CEO Lisa Messenger told The Huffington Post Australia it’s all about valuing your time – whether you’re junior or senior. It’s all about developing strict boundaries about your time.
“In the first few years of my business I was over-servicing and under-charging as so many people asked me ‘Can I pick your brain over a coffee? I hear you’re a specialist in your field.’ If anyone is a specialist in their field then they shouldn’t have their brains picked over a coffee,” Messenger said.
“What happens is you end up having 20 coffee meetings a week and that stops you from making money because you don’t have time to do your actual work.”
“So it’s about being unafraid to set boundaries and say,”No, I’m sorry but I don’t have time.’ These days I will tell people if they want to talk about something that’s work-related, please come and see me in my office. Or, I’m happy to see you out of work hours but it will be a social meeting and not business related.”
Messenger believes if you get pushed into saying ‘Yes’, you will kick yourself later. Or, you’ll be grappling with guilt, fear or remorse because you feel bad for agreeing to do something you never wanted to.
“I know some people who now have a reputation for cancelling at the last minute because they clearly said ‘Yes’ when they meant to say ‘No’, and when it comes to the crunch they feel overwhelmed and cancel. But the easy thing to do is be courageous enough to say ‘No’ when you’re first asked,” Messenger said.
Janine Garner, CEO of The LBD Group, told HuffPost Australia we need to get very clear about our visions and goals. Unless we work continuously towards our goals and manage our own personal boundaries, nobody else will respect our time or boundaries for us.
“It’s a mind set shift. I know I cant deliver the best of me to my clients unless I look after me. My my clients need me to say ‘No’ to anything time wasting and to be clear on what my parametres are. It’s a bit like a muscle, the more you say ‘No’ the easier it gets,” Garner said.
“We’ve all been in situations where we end up saying ‘Yes’ because we feel obliged to, or feel sorry for somebody that needs us. We end up having that awful feeling in our tummy when we agree to something we don’t want to do.”
“Its about realising that you’ve got to take ownership of yourself, take ownership of your life and ownership of achieving the goals you want. You can only deliver the best of you by stop doing the stuff that takes up your time and doesn’t add anything towards your goals and take a good look at the time spent giving to others, that you really should be devoting to yourself.”