The power of No.w.

I’ve been looking forward to writing this post as I think a large part of succeeding is the ability to say a firm No to people/requests/commands that do not serve you or you don’t want to do. This quote landed in my inbox today and I’d like to share it with you:

“All the mistakes I ever made were when I wanted to say ‘no’ and said ‘yes.’”¬†Moss Hart,¬†1904-1961, Playwright and Theatre Director.

Most people I know (especially women) find it incredibly hard to say No firmly like they mean it, even though they want to! I think the main reason is that we women are brought up to be “nice” (possibly the most harmful word in the English language) and we actually care about other peoples opinions of us more than our own, more than our well-being and more than our success even. The natural and inevitable consequence of this behaviour is misery in the long run, because saying yes to too much leads to overwhelm, anger, resentment, exhaustion and stress and in extreme cases less than pleasing results in areas of life that actually matter to US. And after all that yessing, most of the time the people we set out to please find something to complain about anyway.

Not saying No to friends, mothers-in-law, relatives, partners and kids is exhausting and depleting and leaves little time and energy for ourselves and our needs. This can lead to upset, stress and conflicts in families. Not saying No to managers and co-workers has potentially disastrous consequences for your career because you can often end up with someone else’s mess to clean up, too much work with not enough time to do it in and consequently long hours, high stress and reduced rewards. Worse than all of this though is the chance that you could be perceived as a push-over and not strong enough for more demanding or responsible roles. Being able to say No firmly and negotiate your workload, salary and bonus usually makes senior people respect you more and assess you as having “management potential”.

People often think of time-management as the ability to manage chunks of time and break up work into those chunks; while it is that, the most important aspect of managing time is actually managing your Commitments. Making commitments is easy, keeping them is harder and has consequences one other commitments.

So how can you say No with grace, ease and firmness to ensure you only commit to what is important to you and aligned with your goals?

1. Know your own goals and desires. Then when someone asks you for something you can check whether it’s important to you or not and also if it will distract you from what’s important to you. Once you see the impact of saying yes, the No will come out more easily.

2. Ask yourself – “Do I want to do this?” and listen to your gut – it never lies. If you don’t want to do something and it brings you no pleasure, why are you even considering saying yes to it?

3. Evaluate consequences: What will happen if you say yes? What will happen if you say No? Given the consequences of a yes and a No, what is in your best interest?

4. Practice saying No – ask your friends to ask you a question or a favour and practice saying no to them & get feedback. You need to stand tall, be centred and calm and speak firmly and convincingly. PRactice regularly till you convince your friend that No really means No!

And now for NOW. There’s already been so much written about this that I don’t have much to add apart from this is it. Tomorrow & Yesterday are only concepts in our head – all we have is right now. 2 inspirational quotes that sum this up are below and I highly recommend reading the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.

Have a great week!

“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon – instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.”- Dale Carnegie

“Remember then: there is only one time that is important–Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power.” Leo Tolstoy

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7 Responses to The power of No.w.
  1. Michelle O'Neil
    October 26, 2010 | 3:20 pm

    Wonderful post! I am dealing with at least two situations right now where “no” is needed. Thanks for the confidence boost.

  2. kario
    October 26, 2010 | 4:45 pm

    I love it when clarity strikes! This was the perfect reminder to me that I need to be realistic when I’m asked to do something and remember that adding more only takes away my energy from those things I have decided are important to me.

  3. Piya Khanna
    October 26, 2010 | 5:01 pm

    Glad to have helped ladies and thank you so much for sharing your comments.

  4. Ritu Khanna
    October 27, 2010 | 5:53 am

    You read my mind. This is exactly what I needed to hear right now. I just landed myself in a mess by saying yes at work last week. I need to say no firmly. Thanks.

  5. ana
    October 29, 2010 | 12:11 pm

    A nice piece..Thanks for sharing

  6. dawn
    October 30, 2010 | 4:05 pm

    hi I love this. You are right we often say yes more than no and it does lead to things going wrong. I myself was in a situation where I said yes and then I was coned. It was a lesson learnt the hard way.

  7. hacks aqworlds
    November 8, 2010 | 9:33 am

    Thanks!

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