#107: Do You Say No Enough?
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Welcome to the Mindset for Life podcast. This is Bethanie, your coach from Dr. B coach.com. Coaching with power, purpose and practical tools to help you show up with confidence.
Welcome to the podcast. So excited to have you with us. Today we’re going to talk about saying no, in fact, the question today is, do you say no enough? Do you need to say no more often? Do you feel like your time is sucked away and you have no control over your opportunities or your time? If that’s you, it’s definitely time to think about saying no much more often.
There was an episode some time ago about you saying no too much. And that episode was about saying no to yourself, saying no to the things that you care most about saying no to your priorities. But today’s episode number 107, we’re talking about saying no much more often. So if you don’t say no to other people, you are in fact saying no to yourself.
And you might be saying yes to things that you really want to do. These are great opportunities, great things that you want to go participate in people you want to be with. But in the end, it’s not really what you want long term. So you get caught up in this whole time suck.
There’s no time left, you’re exhausted, you’re overcommitted, you’re overwhelmed. And you’re wondering where to draw the line, how you can really stop the madness. And now it’s time to start saying, No.
Today we’re going to talk about this, gonna give you a couple of tips to help you say no to the things that you want to say no to give you a little courage on that. And we might as well dive right in.
Our time and commitments change as we age.
I just want to give you a little bit of background about myself as a person. I grew up with many, many options and opportunities. I was very blessed, very fortunate in my young life. I was in music, I learned piano from third grade onward. And I was in band, I got to play the trumpet, the flute, the tenor saxophone, and a bunch of other instruments too, when I was still in public school, so I had a lot of opportunities. As a result, I wrote music. So I composed music when I was a young person. And when I was a senior in high school, I wrote a musical. This musical had a lot of songs and a lot of speaking parts. And I wrote all the songs. And I recruited all my friends to be in the musical. Lots of people at my church came and made a nice, big audience. And I played the piano for all of those songs.
So I accompanied all of those songs too. I was pretty involved. I just did a lot of stuff. And I was also a science kid. So I took chemistry and physics and all the things that I loved. Early in high school, I took biology, in junior high, and there’s just a lot that I was doing. I was not into sports, I was not a sports person. And that probably would have really made my time crazy and out of control. Because as you know, music activities take a lot. But I can speak from a place of knowing when I say it’s easy to sign on for the next thing and the next thing until pretty soon, you want to do everything. You just want to do it all.
And when you’re in that space, you don’t know what you should choose and what you shouldn’t. You’re just going to say yes to all those activities. And in my young life, I felt that was okay, because there were very few actual responsibilities. But as an adult, that’s dangerous.
We can’t say yes to every single thing. If we take on every work project, if we take on every presentation opportunity, if we take on every chance for advancement or something new and special, we’re going to be exhausted.
The other side of that coin is that if we say yes to everything, no one else gets a chance; no one gets an opportunity. No one gets to test themselves or shine or grow or contribute. So there’s that too. And that’s really important to be thinking about when we’re choosing to say no. If we give someone else the opportunity in an area that we really need to get out of, that’s such a good thing for them. So it can bring us a little bit of courage there.
Why do we say yes too much?
Well before you decide how to start saying no, let’s just look at one or two maybe of the top reasons why you personally say yes all the time. Or maybe you say yes more than you’d like to say yes. On the positive side of saying yes when you really mean to say no.
Are you afraid to miss out on an opportunity? If you’re chasing a particular avenue in your career or your life, and some opportunity comes along, and you’re thinking, “Whoa, I need to do this,” you might say yes when you know you don’t have the time for it. And it’s really bad timing for you generally. But you’re chasing opportunity.
Has that ever happened to you? It’s definitely happened to me. In fact, I’m always looking for those opportunities that are going to line up with what I want to do professionally. So when one of those opportunities comes along, I try my very best to take advantage of it or to engage in it, unless I already am just maxed out. And sometimes I actually have to say no, and I don’t get to participate. And then I just have to let that go. And the good thing is, that opportunity will be helpful to someone else. That’s a good thing.
Sometimes we say yes, when we should say no, because we don’t want to hurt people’s feelings, or we don’t want to disappoint someone else. Maybe we’re afraid we will seem kind of selfish, for not giving to a project or something like that. Maybe by taking the time we need for ourselves or our family life, we do feel selfish, when of course, that’s the complete opposite. You’ve got to recharge or you have nothing to bring into those projects later.
Maybe we’re afraid we’re going to offend people, or we really do just want to help other people. So we say yes to their requests, when we really just don’t have time for it. There’s also that possibility that we want people to like us, and they’re definitely going to when we’re helping them out. So if we have the time and the space, we could say yes. We’d like to say yes.
We avoid saying no when we are feeling like the other person is kind of mean, like maybe they’re bullying us. They expect us to do something. They’re demanding we do something. And it’s really hard. And we just don’t want to get into a conflict with them. So we’re just going to not say no, we’re gonna say yes to that. There are just so many.
And the last one I just want to share is the people pleasing possibility. We just like to make people happy with us and feel pleased.
There are so many. Did anything stand out for you? A couple of those definitely are my bells that ring. And I hope you’ll identify your own and just really figure out: What are my triggers? Just saying yes when I really should say No; when you can identify that, it’s going to help you see it coming. You’ll be ready for it. Much more prepared to have the courage to say no, when you ought to.
Now that you have some kind of idea, what resonates for you, or what comes up for you? That is your reason that you might avoid saying no.
How to say no.
Let’s think about ways that you could actually communicate the NO and say you’re not going to do something.
The first one, of course, is the obvious just be direct. No, thank you, I’d rather not participate. Thanks for the invitation, I’m going to pass this time, whatever it takes, right, be direct. That’s all you have to do. Now, if you’re stalling, if you’re delaying the answer because you’re feeling really awkward about it, you don’t really know what to say, just get to the point and find a way to communicate. Because the longer you take to say no, the the harder it is, and it just really makes it difficult for you. And it also makes the other person go longer getting their hopes up that you’re going to do this thing, whatever that might be. So don’t delay if you know it’s a no, don’t stall.
The other idea is to own your decision, which means you made it you don’t have to explain it or defend it. You don’t have to give 30 reasons why your answer is correct. If you’re going to say no, then you can just take that ownership and say, “I choose not to do this.” And thank you very much. I know this is painful for you, for me to say no. For me to say no to this opportunity or whatever. I’m just going to choose to opt out this time.
There’s this thing people do where we start to make excuses for our decisions. We try to explain why. That is an invitation for the other person to give us 50 reasons why we should change our mind. If you give a lot of explanations and reasons and rationales when you have to say no, I want to encourage you to let that go stop doing that. You can be direct in on your decision and you don’t have to give lots of reasons why. So letting that go helps it to be more clear, more concise, more effective.
The other thing is, offer an alternative if you can. Suggest someone else who can do the job or another way to achieve the goal that can help the other person really feel like you’re not just saying no, but you’re also still caring about them. As you think about saying no remember, it’s all about focusing on what you care most about, and being able to do it within the limits you have available. You can do this, give it a shot. Think about it this week and here’s to the best version of you that we know is coming out.
New Day, performed by Danny Gokey, (P) 2021 Danny Gokey, under exclusive license to Capitol Christian Music Group, Inc., was written by Ethan Hulse, Coby Wedgeworth, and Danny Gokey. Copyright © 2019 Better Than I Found It (BMI) (adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com) All rights reserved. Used by permission; and EGH Music Publishing (BMI) / Be Essential Songs (BMI) / Colby Wedgeworth Music (ASCAP) / Fair Trade Music Publishing (ASCAP) / (admin at EssentialMusicPublishing.com). All rights reserved. Used by permission.