say no, take control

Are you expected to say yes to everything? As a business owner I was always told that the answer should always be yes, and then ask what’s the question? But are we expected to say yes to everything out of fear? Fear of success, fear of failure? Fear of not being liked?

How many stressed out, strung up, burned out and sheer exhausted business owners do you know? Hell, are you one?

Here are 6 simple tips for saying NO effectively without being apologetic.

So say goodbye to being a people pleaser (some may read that as doormat) and learn how to confidently say NO without feeling bad, guilty and without fear..

Here’s how you can effectively and unapologetically say no (and mean it!)

1. Just Say it 

Be bold and own it. Say it out loud with a strong voice, and not an apologetic voice. It’s a statement not an apology. So mean it!

I’m fondly and weirdly reminded of the 1980’s Just Say No campaign for anti drugs!

2. Change your physicality stance

Change your position. Stand up, or sit up straight, change your physical stance. Use language and tone that is assertive and courteous. Lower your voice and slow down your speech. If you need to – use your hand – it works it really does.

Make a statement, and be strong, don’t be tempted to finish the sentence with a question as it will undermine your positioning. 

Talk with purpose without being apologetic and stand your ground! 

3. Set Your Boundaries

Understand the relationship in play and more importantly the role you have within that relationship. Will you have to reposition your role, rebalance the relationship and develop new communication tactics and a newly found influencing style. Just because you haven’t said no before doesn’t mean you can’t now and in the future. 

When you start behaving in a new way understand that people intrinsically don’t like change, so they will have to adapt to the new assertive you and it may take some time and practice.

4. Push Back

If someone is asking too much and too often then start pushing back and repositioning. It could go like this… “Yes of course I can do that for you, and in order to do it I need to prioritise the other tasks you’ve given me. So which one takes priority.” Think of it as a trade off.

5. Be Bold

Stand your ground. Don’t give in just because it feels uncomfortable and others just aren’t used to the new you. Stand your ground and hold the line. Next time it will be much easier – I promise.

6. Look after Yourself First

Put your needs first. Not those of the person asking you for something. It feels weird being selfish – don’t think of it like that, it’s not selfish, it’s self preservation – instead reframe your thinking, and instead prioritise your needs.

I am reminded of the famous quote from Warren Buffett, who said, “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything.”

So start saying NO as a firm statement, without apology or explanation. Try it – it will feel weird, scary, then amazingly empowering and you’ll wonder why you didn’t stand your ground sooner!

No can be a complete sentence if you choose and start claiming your time back!

I know you can do this…


  • Linda was a Expert Business Coach & Entrepreneurial Mindset Mentor. She built a great reputation as a business turnaround expert and has been privileged to work with some amazing people and businesses. Professionally qualified and passionate about supporting Entrepreneurs and Business Owners to have the business and life they love. Successfully manoeuvred through 3 recessions – with the experience and scars to prove it! Hugely credible with significant experience spanning 30+ years with a proven track record of doubling, trebling + business turnover fast and always gets results! Now choosing to take life a bit slower, and focus on a small number of great businesses owners and individuals she coaches on business turnaround, performance mindset coaching encouraging her clients to dramatically improve their effectiveness, their efficiency, turnover, embrace change, learn the tools to be more resilient and to lead the lives and develop the businesses they desire. Her personal website is