Learning the art of saying no

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Saying ‘no’ to a request can be really difficult for many of us. It can stem from not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings or disappoint them. Or it can be related to the pressure we put on ourselves to ‘do it all’. But there can never be a ‘win-win’ situation when you say ‘yes’ to something you know should have been ‘no’. Either you disappoint people when you are unable to fulfil the promise or run out of time to fulfil it. Or you end up exhausted, or doing something that conflicts with your interests.

Whenever you say ‘yes’ when you know you don’t have the time, you affect your life and work balance. By saying ‘no’ you can allocate your time to things that are more important to you or that which gets you closer to your goals and objectives.

Instead of working to please others, saying ‘no’ helps you focus on your life and set your priorities rather than allowing others to dictate what you should do.

If you set boundaries, it teaches others what you will do and what you won’t do. It also lets people know they can’t take advantage of you. Be aware that some people will try to elicit a positive response from you, trying everything from whining to complimenting and bullying. Be firm and assertive, and stick to your decision.

It is important to ensure that you communicate your ‘no’ clearly. If you say ‘maybe’ it can be interpreted as ‘yes’, even though you have no intention of doing it. This indecision can create far more issues that a firm ‘no’; and most people appreciate a decisive, initial response. In all situations, learn to say ‘no’ politely and it will be easy for you to turn down requests without feeling guilty.

Saying ‘no’ does not mean you are selfish or inconsiderate; it only means you are strong enough to set your priorities.

Take a look at your calendar and see how you spend your time. What you spend your time on the most, is what matters most. When you look at your schedule, does it align with what really matters to you?

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