Have you ever agreed to do something and no sooner than the word YES came flying out of your mouth, you knew it was a bad idea? Yup, me too. If you’re anything like me — you hate to disappoint, so you go ahead and do what you’ve agreed to do. And hey, it can be a great quality; you’re loyal, a good friend, reliable. But at the same time, saying yes, when you really want to say no, is taking up your precious time and energy.
So why do we do it in the first place? Well….
Reason 1:
We want to be liked. I mean really, who wants to be the bad guy? Not me. But there is a way you can still say no and be liked. Just be kind and firm. Assertive and not aggressive. And if people start to drop you because you’re not on their agenda? While it may be painful at first, at the end of the day, you’re making space in your life for those who really count.
Turn it around by starting small. Start to say no in lower risk environments. For example, the next time you’re at the checkout and the cashier asks you to contribute to a cause, say “no”. Say, “no thanks” when someone asks you to go to a restaurant that you know isn’t your cup of tea.
Pretty soon, you’ll start to see lots of opportunities to start trying this out.
Reason 2:
We’re afraid of a missed opportunity. What if the one thing you say no to is the thing that would have been your jackpot? What if you’ve been working your butt off, decide to say no to one thing and then it’s a hit?

This is FOMO (fear of missing out) plain and simple. Start to trust that the choices you’ve made are the right choices. So often, when we’re new at something and just starting out, we just aren’t sure we’re doing the right thing.

This is where we need to have faith in ourselves and trust that we’ve made the right decision.

These things take time. And while we’re working hard and still waiting for things to come together, it’s easy to panic and change directions (ahhhhhh…. I’ve done that a whole lotta times!). The thing is, this adds to wasted time, energy and a lot of anxiety, which will take you even further away from your original goal.

Stick to the original plan. It will come together.

Reason 3:
We don’t know how. We know that saying yes is a bad idea and yet we’re just not sure how to say no (without looking like a jerk) so we don’t.

Saying no can be an art. With practice you can be the next Picasso. The key is to be prepared to say no, even if you are caught off guard. Marie Forleo (one of my favorite people on the internet) has some great advice. I’ve talked about it too.    

Reason 4:
We didn’t know we could. For a long time this was me. Then I was blessed to have a boss (thanks Mary!) that used to say, “it’s their job to ask and your job to say no”. OMG… this eye-opener was such a freeing perspective!

Just start doing it. The great thing is it gets easier, you make time and space for what’s truly important and the people who used to go to you with all their nonsense kinda stop.

Keep in mind there are just some things that you can’t say no to (I mean you can but… ) such as your best friend in the entire world’s bachelorette party; an assignment that your boss gave you at the last minute but really is critical; helping out a friend or even a stranger in real need. But I’m guessing that you’ve got such a big heart you’re doing these things already.

Saying no may still feel uncomfortable, but that is ok. It’s a grown up way to managing your time, energy and most importantly your life.

So what will you say no to? Do any of these reasons hit home for you? Let me know by responding to this email or in the comments.