Can you hire my niece as an intern while managing 9 others?” Yup, no problem…
“Can you meet for coffee after your other two-morning coffee dates?” You got it, let me add it to my Google calendar.
“Can you scratch my back while planning 2 events, writing 4 social media posts for 8 accounts and creating an editorial calendar for the year?” Uhh…no?
It only took 24 years to get that two-letter word out of my head and out into the open without feeling guilty. I’m usually all about saying “yes” to every opportunity, every new door that opens and every person I meet, but at some point, you have to learn to say “no”.
Now, by all means, I’m not saying when your boss asks you tomorrow to re-send that e-mail that you turn to them and say “no” because, well, if you do that then you may want to turn the other way and just start packing up your desk.
Saying “no” is an art, not the kind that involves paint and a brush but more of a “how to read others’ social vibes” art. Knowing when to say “no” and how to say it is key to using this two-letter word that seems to be one of the most uncommon in today’s world.
We want to do it all; have the 100 coffee dates, make a delicious homemade meal every night, get to the gym at 5:30 am every morning, take on all the projects requested at work while still finding downtime for hobbies but the reality is we can’t do it all. So in a world all about “yes”, I’m sharing my top 4 ways to say “no” without feeling an ounce of guilt.
Turn the “no” into a “yes”.
I know what you’re thinking “but you just said to say no?” and that is correct. But instead of coming flat out and saying “no” turn it into an alternative way to say “yes”. For example, if you get asked on a coffee date but really don’t have the time to commit to meeting up this week, see if they have 10 minutes to hop on a call to help answer any questions they have so you can still help them out.
Add a positive spin.
We all can accept “no” for an answer when it’s given with a smile. When you have a situation when you really can not commit, kindly say no by spinning into a positive outlook. For example when a co-worker asks you if you support their client’s event you can respond with “unfortunately I can not commit at this time but I know it will be a great event”. Always looking on the bright side;)
Delegate the “no”.
Sounds silly, right? But one of the biggest things I have been trying to learn as a manager is how to delegate. When to say “yes” and when to pass along the “no”. When asked to do something that you know you have to do and really can’t commit the time needed to do it well, delegate it to a team member or intern. Instead of saying “no”, connect them with someone else who can do the project and then check in occasionally to see how things are going.
Tell yourself “no”.
We can’t hurt our own feelings, right? I like to think not, but we can totally control our actions and causes of needing to say “no” but it starts with saying “no” to ourselves. Maybe you really do have time to grab drinks with friends but you told yourself “yes” to skipping the gym this morning and need to squeeze a quick sweat in after work instead or maybe you could make a homemade meal for dinner but told yourself “yes” to an hour of scrolling on social media instead of going to the grocery store. Saying “no” to yourself is probably the hardest but most rewarding way to say “no”.
Ever have a hard time saying “no” to something/someone? Any tips for saying it without regret?