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Learning to Say "No"

July 17, 2015

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It's okay to say no now and then. Here are reasons why you need to say "no" right now via @shoeaholicnomore

Learning to say “No” is one the absolute hardest things I’ve ever tried to do. I suppose it’s because I’ve always been kind of a people-pleaser.

I like it when people are happy with me (don’t we all), and one the easiest ways I could think of the make sure this happened was by saying “Yes” to everything everyone asked me to do.

As I’ve gotten older and gained a new clarity on what I want to get out of life, I’ve learned that sometimes you NEED to say “No”.

Does that mean I’m perfect at knowing what to say “Yes” to and what to say “No” to? Absolutely not.

I still struggle with this in many areas of my life, like with my family and friends, at my full-time job, in the organizations I volunteer for, and even in my business. Granted I don’t usually want to say “No” to things in my freelance business because I love it so much, but in every other area of life I’ve got to say “No” a little more often.

About a month ago I was so stressed out from all of my time commitments that I scheduled a call with my client and business question go-to girl, Carrie.

On that call I told Carrie about the things I was struggling with, mainly having enough time to focus on my business as much as I wanted to, and then I asked her opinion about what I should do.

The absolute best thing that came out of that call with Carrie was learning that I need to be in control of how I spend my time and what I commit myself to doing.

This may not always be 100% possible. For example at my full-time job I have to do as instructed by my supervisor, but for almost everything else in life I have at least some say in what I do and how I spend my time.

Then Carrie told me about the power of saying “No” to what I don’t really want to do. Here’s a summary of how she explained it. (I wish I had recorded it so I could get it exactly right, but this is as close as I can remember.)

“By Saying ‘Yes’ to everything everyone asks you to do you are really saying ‘No’ to some of the most important things of all.”

Say what?!

How Saying “Yes” is Really Saying “No” to Yourself

When Carrie said that I was really confused. Wasn’t saying “Yes” to everything really just saying “Yes”? As it turns out, that’s not the case.

By saying “Yes” to working full-time at my day job, “Yes” to working part-time at my weekend job, “Yes” to working nearly full-time on my freelance business, and “Yes” to almost everything my friends and family invited me to do, I was really saying “No” to having time to myself, time for my health, and time for rest. I was also telling my family, friends, and my cute little pets that my jobs and business were more important to me than they were, and the very last item on my priority list was me.

After talking with Carrie, I decided to start making some changes to my life and my priority list. One of the first changes I made was to quit my part-time weekend job. There was another piece of Carrie advice that helped me reach this decision too, but I’ll save it for another day. 🙂

My last day at my part-time job was in mid-June and since then I’ve had so much more time to accomplish household tasks, time for my business, time to spend with family and friends, and time for myself on the weekends too. It’s amazing how much time I got back by quitting a 6-8 hour/week job.

I also decided to continue evaluating my feelings toward everything else in my life with the goal of cutting out everything I don’t really like by the end of the year.

I’m still not great at saying “No”. I’m just learning to say “No” a little more often to things I don’t really want to do.

Are you still learning to say “No” or are you a pro at it already?

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich, A Disease Called Debt and Shoeaholic No More*

It's okay to say no now and then. Here are reasons why you need to say

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18 responses to “Learning to Say "No"

  1. What a great goal! It’s good to gather that information for a while – how the activities make you FEEL – before making a decision about what to cut and what to keep. And it’s so empowering when you know what is essential in your life. Every decision is easier, and you save so much energy!

    1. I agree MJ! I’m definitely not GREAT at it yet, but I’m trying to get more focused so I can use my time and energy on things I actually care about instead of things I “should” care about.

  2. I absolutely hate confrontation, and I will avoid it at all costs. I have the hardest time saying no too, but it’s definitely something I’m working on!

    It sounds like you are trying your best to start making the right choices for yourself! I can’t wait to see what the end of the year brings for you!

    1. Hey Kristi – I hear you on not liking confrontation, but sometimes you just had to do it head on so you can make the best choices for yourself. I’m not great at saying no, but hopefully getting better 🙂

  3. Glad you figured out what’s best for you. Learning when to say no is a really important skill. You simply can’t say yes to everything, so you need to pick and choose carefully. I completely understand the impulse to say yes and please people. It’s something I’m still working on myself.

  4. I started saying no last year and it’s been a game changer. I was raised to be a “yes” person, so saying no wasn’t in my vocabulary. It’s really helped me narrow down what matters most and what I want to focus on for work and my personal life. I feel so much better to actually be in control of my life!

    1. I’m so happy to hear your success story with saying no. It gives me hope that I’ll be able to gain a better life balance by saying no too.

  5. I have the same problem and usually end up stressed about how I am going to finish everything. Learning to say “No” is a great skill.

    1. It’s so hard though. I had trouble with it this weekend and now I’m behind, which is not a good way to start a Monday.

  6. Oh my gosh, this is so timely. I literally just wrote my first email to my boss saying no to a project she wanted me to take on because she is currently swamping me. I was really polite about it, but there is no way that running the cast Facebook page is the stage manager’s job and I’m just not doing it. I was 100% feeling though that saying yes was saying no to me and the logic behind this part time summer gig.

    1. Glad you agree Mel. Way to go at saying no to things that are beyond the scope of your job – that scope creep can be a killer if you don’t get paid anymore to do the extra tasks that are asked of you.

  7. I have a very very hard time saying no… I think it has something to do with FOMO (fear of missing out)… but I am getting better… and realizing that I’m not missing out, because I gain so much by having that time to myself or at home with my fiance.

    1. This: “realizing that I’m not missing out, because I gain so much by having that time to myself or at home with my fiance” only sub fiance for dogs for me 🙂

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