The word “NO” is very powerful – and can be a positive word!
Too much to do, too little time to do it – too many people making demands upon your time, all with conflicting agendas.
I first learnt to say “NO” a couple of years back when Beauty and the Boutique started to take off.
For me, if I didn’t say “NO” (to some things both in work and out of work), it meant that I couldn’t get the essential parts of the business done, to grow Beauty and the Boutique into what you see today.
Saying “NO” without guilt is something I really used to struggle with, as I’m a people pleaser by nature.
The very thought of saying “NO” used to make my mouth go dry and my palms sweat.
I used to feel that by saying “NO” I’d be letting someone down or worse still, hurting their feelings.
Over the years of running Beauty and the Boutique, I’ve discovered some tips and techniques which have really empowered me and helped me to say “NO” with confidence.
Could they help you, too?…
Saying “NO” in the right way can leave both you AND the requestee feeling good!
Get ready to feel liberated!
Identify what’s important to YOU and acknowledge what’s NOT.
Before you can say “NO” with confidence, you have to be clear about what you want to say “NO” to – you need to know what’s in your capabilities, and what isn’t going to work.
All the other steps follow this one.
Recognise that it’s almost never an insult when people make requests of you.
They’re asking for your help because they TRUST you, and they believe in your capabilities to help.
So, instead, see it as a positive.
This next part is reeeally (like REALLY!) important – thank them for thinking of you or making the request/invitation. Don’t worry – this doesn’t need to lead to a YES!
Remember – you’re NOT rejecting the person, just declining the invitation/request.
So, make it clear and let the person know that you respect them — maybe you admire their idea, suggestion, passion or generosity.
But NEVER fake it…
(…even if you’re not enamoured with the person making the request, simply being polite and kind will communicate that you aren’t rejecting him/her.)
Having a reason really does help the saying of the “NO” and if you can give a thoughtful reason, it helps the other person empathise and understand your reasons even more!
If you have a colleague asking you to step in on the office party planning committee, but you already have 7 outstanding work assignments.
You can reply with a simple:
“Although I wish I could help, I don’t feel I can take on other projects when I’m behind on my existing assignments.”
This statement helps the other person understand and empathise more so than:
“I haven’t got the time,” and it’s more thoughtful.
Maybe you don’t feel like what they’re asking you to do plays to your strengths. Maybe you have other priorities or commitments taking up your time.
Be honest about WHY you’re saying “NO”.
If like me you tend to suffer from major saying “NO” guilt, offering a helpful alternative can really help!
When you can’t provide someone with what they want/need, find the closest alternative. Even if it won’t work for them, they’ll still appreciate your effort. This way you can minimise your guilt and try to help them at the same time!
Feeling guilty after saying “NO” is normal, but this is when it’s important to focus on the positives that saying “NO” has freed you up to do or enjoy.
Once you’ve declined an invitation/request, make an effort to focus on the good that will come from saying “NO”, not the regret or guilt you may feel about turning down an offer.
Maybe saying “NO” to one thing frees up time for another (more meaningful) activity?
Whatever the case may be, focus on the positive outcome of your effort to give good “NO”.
I love the examples that author and life coach Renee Trudeau gives in her book “The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal – How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life”:
Okay so full disclosure – I still feel the “NO” guilt BUT, using these tips nowhere near as much!
I now appreciate the consequences if I don’t say “NO” to some things. When I take on everything that comes my way, I can’t do any one thing really well.
Give these tips a try – I think you’ll be surprised at how liberating it can be to say “NO” with confidence!
Makeup Artist | Stylist | Founder of Beautyandtheboutique.com